“His death is a reminder that we should fight for what is right.”
By SHEERAH ESCUDERO
MANILA — “To serve the people selflessly is glorious.”
These were the words of slain peace consultant Felix Randy Malayao that will forever be etched in the hearts and minds of human rights defenders and peace advocates who recently gathered to pay tribute to him on Feb. 19 at the Institute of Biology in the University of the Philippines..
Malayao, the youngest peace consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in its peace negotiation with the Philippine government, was killed in the wee hours of Jan. 30 while sleeping on a bus en route to his hometown.
In their speeches, they shared narratives on how they met Malayao, offered songs and poems on how he lived his life, more than 30 years of which he offered to the Filipino people’s movement for genuine and lasting peace.
Malayao, who was supposedly covered by a peace agreement that provides immunity to arrests, surveillance, and attacks such as this, is the second peace consultant killed. NDFP peace consultant Sotero Llamas was killed back in 2006.
Leader and peace maker
His colleagues from the Taripnong-Cagayan Valley described Malayao as a person who was molded by the oppressed people he has chosen to serve. Jeffrey Mancera of Taripnong stressed that it would have been easy for Malayao to choose a more simple life. But it was impossible to not to heed the calls of the people.
“He sees everyone equally. Perhaps, this is why he became a peace and human rights advocate,” said a fellow UP Diliman Beta Sigma Fraternity member.
Malayao, a hands-on leader, was known for his tireless service and positive outlook, even during difficult times as pointed out by a fellow alumnus of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines, Teddy Casiño. He also noted that the slain peace consultant was “great in alliance building with people regardless of political party affiliation, even the rival parties.”
Malayao served as Regional Coordinator of Bayan Muna in Cagayan Valley in 2013, vice president for Luzon of Makabayan Coalition and regional coordinator of Bayan Muna in Cagayan Valley this year.
On continuing the fight
Malayao’s childhood friend and journalist Raymond Villanueva said tributes such as this will only glorify the memories of the departed if those who are present will continue the fight that they have started.
“His death is a reminder that we should fight for what is right,” Malayao’s Beta Sigma frat member added.
Meanwhile, Renato Reyes of Bayan emphasized that the first step for justice is to identify who is behind Malayao’s killing. He also assailed the present stance of the Duterte administration that those behind his killing are revolutionary forces seeking retribution.