The steps going up the Humanities Building has evolved into more than just their functional value and through the years, has become an icon of activism.
This is what Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr. said at the program where the Humanities Steps was renamed as the Hagdan ng Malayang Kamalayan and a bronze marker designating it as such was unveiled. The program was held on March 9 to commemorate the victims of Martial Law from UPLB.
The Humanities Steps has witnessed how activism took root and flourished in UPLB through the struggles that the country has endured.
One of these is Martial Law, a fact that Dr. Felino Lansigan, dean of CAS, reminded the audience about during the program. According to Dr. Lansigan, the Humanities Steps was the primary meeting place of youth activists in UPLB during the Martial Law period.
The marker is made of hammered bronze and resembles an unfurled scroll bordered by barbed wire. The marker was designed by UPLB alumnus Manny Garibay and crafted by Lito Madejar, who said that it was specifically hammered to symbolize the torture that the Martial Law victims suffered.
In a reference to the hammer as a symbol, Dr. Lansigan said that College of Arts and Sciences, which holds office at the Humanities building, would remain a pandayan, or a forge for critical thinking and formation of student leaders.
Chancellor Sanchez lauded the installation of the marker, and said that it stood as a reminder that UPLB would always take a stand during “times of darkness.” He added that UPLB would always keep that spirit alive.
The unveiling was followed by a memorial ceremony where the names of UPLB’s known Martial Law victims were read out while their surviving relatives and friends lit candles for them. Testimonials and messages were delivered by former UPLB faculty and alumni who survived that dark era in Philippine history. (Albert Geoffred B. Peralta)