Honoring the Martyrs of the Culasi/Bacong Bridge Massacre of 1981
December 23, 2020
It was less than a week before Christmas in the municipality of Culasi, Antique when more than 400 farmers, fishermen, and their families woke up early in the morning of December 19, 1981 to protest. They assembled at 7:00 AM in Barangay Condez, a few kilometers south of the Municipal Hall, and marched on foot northward to meet then Mayor Romulo Alpas.
The word “crisis” was no understatement for what these families were experiencing – some of them were living on only one meal a day and were barely earning enough to meet the ridiculously high prices of basic commodities or to send their children to school. Transporting their root crops and vegetables from farm to market and paying exorbitant municipal taxes at the town market every Sunday was an expensive process that often disabled them from buying fertilizers and insecticides.  They wanted their grievances against existing economic policies to be made known, starting closest to home; that meant speaking face to face with the local government.
Culasi and its roads as shown in maps from Wikimedia Commons and Google Maps
Photo from “Culasi Massacre: Small Town in the Crossfire” by Roberto Z. Coloma, WHO Magazine, February 6, 1982, republished online by the Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation at https://www.facebook.com/bantayogngmgabayani/photos/a.334152743271869/2819234248097027.
Norberto Castillo was among the rallyists who were injured during the incident. He later bore witness in the implication of the PC and CHDF as the perpetrators of the massacre. Photo from Pumipiglas: political detention and military atrocities in the Philippines, 1981-1982 by the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines.