Some may argue that Ferdinand Marcos’ Martial Law went past them without an after effect or so. But just because nothing happened to you and your circle, is it just right to forget what has transpired?

Not everyone was fortunate enough to survive the Martial Law. When too many were afraid to speak out, they bravely fought on. They were not even overstepping their boundaries but their rights were violated.

This bravery was paid dearly by their own lives. It is tragic and it is sad. Some of them where young and had the potential to claim a bright future ahead of them.

However, a tyrant just decided to take this all away from them. It is not right to turn a blind eye to these sacrifices. Just because some survived and went on with their lives, it doesn’t mean that the sacrifices of those who perished doesn’t have to mean a thing.

And let us remember some of them today, one of the Quimpo brothers. Ronald Jan or simply known as Jan was exposed early to activism as his family moved near the university belt in Manila in the 1970s. At an early age, he became exposed to the excesses and abuse of Martial Law in the country.

Ronald Jan Quimpo Jan was the first activist in the family and is often described as well-mannered and intelligent. He passed the Philippine Science High School (PSHS) exams and eventually went there for his secondary education. Even in PSHS, he joined the rallies and demonstrations of other students in UP and Kabataang Makabayan (KM).

There was an increase in the pricing of gas in 1971 which brought out protests from the students and transport sector. There was a human barricade in UP Diliman and a student was shot dead.

The protesters responded by blocking the entrances of UP Diliman from the police and military. Jan was part of this significant event.

Later on, he passed the University of the Philippines collegiate exams but would sooner drop out to join the activists in their cause. He was soon arrested with Liliosa Hilao, a fellow student activist in the latter’s residence. They were illegally arrested and abused. Sadly, Hilao didn’t survive this ordeal.

After three months of detention, Jan was released. He went back to school, laid low but still supported his siblings who were also activists. In 1977, soldiers raided the Quimpo house looking for his younger brother Jun.

Since Jun wasn’t there, there were no arrests done. Two weeks later, Jan went out of the house with plans of returning for dinner at home but he was never seen again. He never went home for dinner. He was only 23.

Such a sad ending for an intelligent, young man. And to say that we should move on and forget the horrors of Martial Law, that would be a great disrespect to Jan’s memory.

What they did was nothing sort of trivial. They have exchanged it with their own lives. And as everyone should know, it’s a given that every life matters.

Along with their lives, their dreams were cut short as well. There would be questions of what they could have been but we will no longer know the answers. What we can do, let us remember them and what they fought for.


“QUIMPO, Ronald Jan F.,”

Kate Pedroso, Marielle Medina, “Liliosa Hilao: First Martial Law detainee killed,”, (September 1, 2015).

Rina Jimenez-David, “A family’s—and nation’s—story,”, (April 23, 2012).

Vberni Regalado, “The young victims of Martial Law,”, (September 21, 2017).