“They can take away his life but certainly not the hope he planted in all of us. To his many students, to the toiling masses, and to the many communities he served, Kevin is a brave anak ng bayan, a teacher, a fighter, a hero.”
This was the statement of UP student council alliance Katipunan ng mga Sangguniang Mag-aaral sa UP (KASAMA sa UP), testifying to the service done by Kevin “Ka Facio” Castro.
Castro was killed by the 1st Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army in Polillo, Quezon last February 21. According to Karapatan Timog Katagalugan (TK), the release of Castro’s remains was even delayed because of the authorities.
“Nagtungo ang humanitarian team ng Karapatan Timog Katagalugan sa bayan ng Polillo upang samahan at agapayan ang pamilya sa proseso ng pag-claim ng labi. Nagkaroon ng ilang kahirapan dahil, tulad ng mga nakaraang karanasan, sadyang ginigipit at pinahahaba ng 1st IBPA ang simpleng pagkilala at pag-release ng labi sa pamilya Castro,” Karapatan TK wrote.
[“Karapatan TK’s humanitarian team went to Polillo to assist Castro’s family in claiming his remains. There were delays because similar to past experiences, the 1st IBPA lengthened the process of identifying and releasing the remains to Castro’s family.”]
Karapatan TK informed the Perspective that Castro’s remains were finally claimed last February 24. The alliance expressed their gratitude to the local government unit of Polillo and all those who assisted in the process of claiming Castro’s remains.
According to KASAMA sa UP, Castro was a student leader from UP Diliman’s College of Education who held various positions in the council. Castro also served as spokesperson of the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) in 2016.
“In his time in NUSP and in the student council, he is unwavering in the frontlines in fighting for the right to free education,” NUSP wrote.
NUSP added that Castro had a magna cum laude and batch valedictorian standing. He dedicated all these to serving and teaching in rural areas in Quezon.
“[He] had a magna cum laude and batch valedictorian standing, and it is clear that his academic achievements are telling of his skills, talent, and wit – which he dedicated full-time to serving the people and teaching in Quezon, in places and communities not reached by the government,” NUSP added.
NUSP condemns Castro’s killing at a time of “grave education woes”.
“…To kill an educator in the time of grave education woes instead of addressing its ails is cold-blooded,” NUSP said.
Meanwhile, Kabataan Partylist recognized Castro’s role in championing for free education.
“Si Kevin Castro ay aming kinikilalang kampeon ng libreng edukasyon dahil malaking papel ang kanyang ginampanan sa pagbubuklod at pag-organisa ng napakaraming lider-estudyante at konseho ng mga mag-aaral upang isabatas ang Free College Education Law o RA [Republic Act] 10931,” Kabataan Partylist said.
[“We recognize Castro as a champion of free education because of the major role that he played in organizing numerous student leaders and councils to pass the Free College Education Law or RA 10931.”]
Meanwhile, KASAMA sa UP said that Castro truly lived up to the university’s call of serving the people.
“Kevin left his comfortable life and future to fulfill the most unparalleled and bravest decision one could offer in the pursuit of service – to offer oneself for the nation,” the alliance wrote. [P]
Photo from Michael Joselo / Karapatan Timog Katagalugan