Bayani: Lorena Barros
Maria Lorena Barros remains today one of the most well-known heroes of the antidictatorship struggle: a charismatic leader, gifted writer, icon of modern Philippine feminism, the “gentle warrior” who defiantly confronted death at the hands of government soldiers, deep in the forests of the Sierra Madre.
By the end of the 1960s, Lorie Barros was being drawn into political activism. She joined exposure trips to the rural areas and immersed herself in the emerging political literature. She organized the all-women Makibaka (Malayang Kilusan ng Bagong Kababaihan) and became its first chairperson. Makibaka chapters quickly spread across the country, in factories, in villages, and even in exclusive girls’ schools.
On March 24, 1976, Barros was seriously wounded in an armed encounter with constabulary soldiers in Cagsiay II, Mauban, Quezon. A companion was killed instantly. Medical treatment was promised by her captors if she would cooperate with them, but she said she would rather die for her beliefs. She was shot in the nape. She was 28 years old.
Lorie Barros was given a heroine’s wake and burial by family and friends.. In a tribute to her courage and principled life, her comrades marched with her coffin singing revolutionary songs, risking arrest themselves. A well-attended necrological service was held at the UP campus.