TIERRA, Noel C.

From Bantayog ng mga Bayani (http://www.bantayog.org/node/208)

Noel Tierra had well-to-do parents. His father was a hospital administrator and his mother a nurse. The couple also owned a sizable tract of land planted to rice and coconuts.

As a student, Noel was conscientious, and enjoyed mathematics and the sciences. He wrote poems, excelled at drawing and painting, and played the piano and the guitar. He was a quiet person but friendly and likeable and he was known to enjoy practical jokes. Noel enjoyed teen-age life. He and his friends came to Manila in 1965 to watch the Beatles, whom they admired.

Noel showed a concern for others even in his youth. He gave a poor neighbor used bottles and old newspapers so the latter could sell them. When he was older, he urged his parents to donate a piece of land to a poor aunt who had been his nursemaid as a baby. And years later as a student activist, he once had his mother help a woman from a poor community who was bleeding.

Noel found a political outlet for this concern when he entered college at the University of the Philippines. He joined the Nationalist Corps, and later the Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan (SDK). Soon, Noel was joining rallies, and exposure trips to diff erent rural communities. They would engage the community members in dialogue, learning and teaching at the same time.

During the summer of 1970, Noel and two friends went on their own to Atimonan to try to put up a youth organization along nationalist lines. The attempt was mildly successful. The new group got to hold a protest rally with a handful of participants, gathering a good audience at the town plaza. Noel got more deeply into community work in Quezon City and soon left the university to become a fulltime political offi cer of the SDK.

Noel’s former scout master in grade school, Francisco Laude, one said: “When I heard that Noel had become an activist, I said we should not blame him. We should be thankful that we have young people who think like he did. If all of us behaved selfi shly, how can there be change? We must be thankful of young people who off er their lives for change. If they did not wake us up, we would still have our eyes closed. Noel did not become an activist because he was poor but because he used his reason and he studied the situation.”

When martial law was declared, Noel, then still an SDK organizer, was arrested in Quezon province and detained at Camp Vicente Lim in Laguna. Noel was arrested again in Quezon in January 1974. This time his soldier captors tortured him, and for two weeks, with hands tied and underfed, he was taken around the barrios and put on display as a captured rebel. Later he was taken back to the military camp in Bagong Silang II, Guinayangan, Quezon, and shot dead. He was 21 years old.

Later his body was dumped on a pavement of a basketball court in the Guinayangan town center. His parents immediately came to claim his body, which on autopsy, showed the torture marks. Noel is buried in Lucena City.

Birth: 
January 31, 1953
Death: 
February 09, 1974
Place of Death: 
Brgy. Bagong Silang II, Tagkawayan, Quezon