[Blueboard] Co-author of 1968 Guidon article "Down from the Hil" passes away

Cristina Montiel tmontiel at admu.edu.ph
Tue Oct 30 12:05:41 PHT 2001


Dear Ateneo Community,

Gerry Esguerra, one of the co-authors of the stirringly influential
Guidon article
"Down from the Hill" (1968), has gone down from the Earth's Hill.  Gerry
passed
away this morning, 2 a.m. October 30, after a stroke hit the part of his
brain that manages the respiratory functions of his body.

For members of our Ateneo community too young to remember Ateneo during
Martial Law, allow me to share a passage about this historical article.
Susan Evangelista writes about the Guidon article "Down from the Hill",
for a chapter to be published in a book on Ateneo de Manila during
Martial Law.

Susan writes:

"The history of modern political nationalism/activism in the Ateneo is
usually traced back to November 27, 1968, the date the famous essay Down

>From the Hill appeared in the Guidon.  This essay, written by five
Ateneo students – Jose Luis A. Alcuaz, Gerardo J. Esquerra, Emmanuel
A.F. Lacaba, Leonardo Q. Montemayor, and Alfredo N. Salanga – labeled
the traditional Ateneo education irrelevant and called for redirection
and reorientation of the curriculum and of all practices of the
university so that it might answer more directly to the problems of
Philippine society.  It was especially outspoken on the need to reorient

the Ateneo students to their home country, and to the plight of the poor

of the country.  With this interest in nationalizing the Ateneo
education, they also voiced concern over the role of American Jesuits in

the school.

The Ateneo community still looks back to the publication of this essay
as a “defining moment” in its development. "

Among the other "Down from the Hill" authors, (1) Emman Lacaba was shot
by military forces in Davao del Norte in 1976; (2) Freddie Salanga has
died of kidney failure (3) Linggoy Alcuaz currently works at the
Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office and (4) Leonie Montemayor is
presently Secretary of Agriculture.

Gerry Esguerra dropped out from Ateneo College to join the Federation of

Free Farmers (FFF).  When FFF turned pro-Marcos, Gerry left and
participated
in other anti-dictatorship groups.  In 1980, his photo hit the front
pages, as he was declared wanted for urban bombings associated with the
April 6 Liberation Movement.

Let us remember Gerry in our prayers, as we celebrate The Day of Souls.

Kind regards,
Tina Montiel





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