Marcos ruling a kick in the teeth – Aussie priest jailed during martial law

By: Carla P. Gomez - Correspondent / @carlagomezINQInquirer Visayas / 07:09 AM November 10, 2016

BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental — An Australian Columban priest, who was jailed during Martial law, was dismayed at the decision of the Supreme Court to grant a hero’s burial to the late dictator, Ferdinand Marcos, at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Fr. Brian Gore looks at a classroom he has built in Negros Occidental. Gore, who was jailed during martial law, talked about how painful it was to hear that dictator Ferdinand Marcos would soon be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. (PHOTO BY CARLA P. GOMEZ/ INQUIRER VISAYAS)

Fr. Brian Gore, 72, said the high court added insult to injury suffered by martial law victims and hit a raw nerve especially in those who have not recovered from the trauma of losing their loved ones and those who have not recovered from being jailed and tortured.


April 12, 2016
by Arman Toga
Negros Daily Bulletin

The Diocese of Kabankalan paid tribute to the late Atty. Francisco B. Cruz, a human rights lawyer, for his commitment and legal services to the victims of abuses during the Martial Law years.

KABANKALAN DIOCESE TRIBUTE. Left to right, Manuel Fortun, Jaoquin Fortun, Jenna Cruz-Fortun, Julio Cruz, Lita Cruz, Kerl Cruz, Kerr Michael Cruz, Bishop Patricio Buzon and Fr. Eryl Agus.*

Led by Bishop Patricio Buzon and Fr. Eryl Agus, director of the Commission on Social Action, the April 8, 2016 ceremony at St. Pope Pasul Pastoral Center at St. Francis Xavier Parish in Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental was attended by Atty. Cruz’ family.

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Widows and Widowers of Saint Columban

Last November 23, we celebrated the 1,400 death anniversary of Saint Columban and here in the Philippine Church we celebrated 2015 as the “Year of the Poor”.

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To mark these two occasions and to give more substance to them, I decided to organize the widows and widowers around San Columbano Retreat House, our former Columban Central house in Negros. This had been in my mind for some time.

We are calling this organization, in the language of the island (Illongo), “Asosasyon sang mga Balo ni San Columbano” or in English “Association of the Widows and Widowers of Saint Columban”. In Illongo the word for widow and widower is the same – Balo.

SM, DTI, CITEM, NCCA, Philippine STAR partnership: Crafts and communities at SM

April 12, 2015

MANILA, Philippines - As “My City, My SM, My Crafts” continues its series of road shows around the Philippines, it showcases not only the best of traditional arts and modern Philippine design, but also creative community-based crafts that have become a source of livelihood for many Filipinos.

Negros Nine Human Development Foundation’s Fr. Brian Gore with weavers Bernalyn, Jonathan and Danila at the My City, My SM, My Crafts event at SM City Bacolod. Through its Abaca Weaving Project, the foundation which is run by the Columban Fathers, provides livelihood opportunities for a community of weavers in Kabankalan City.

Thirty Years Later

This article appeared in Far East Magazine November 2014 issue and Columbans Ireland website

It is hard to believe that it is thirty years since the story of an Irish Missionary priest facing death in the Philippines hit the headlines in Ireland. It was a story that captured the headlines not only in Ireland but also, in many other countries around the world, especially Australia and the United States. Lots of things have happened in the intervening period for the Catholic Church, not all of them positive stories, but the story of the Negros Nine should not be forgotten and for all the right reasons.

I was a young reporter in RTE (Ireland’s National Radio and TV Station) when the story broke. Two Columban missionary priests, one secular priest, and the six lay leaders had been arrested and charged with the murder of a local Mayor on the island of Negros in the Philippines. I can vividly recall Niall O’Brien being interviewed on RTE Radio from his prison-cell in a place called Bacolod, telling how he and his two fellow priests, Australian, Brian Gore and secular priest Vicente Dangan, along with six lay leaders, were facing a possible death sentence on a trumped-up charge.

In essence this was a simple story of priests siding with the local sugar-workers on the island of Negros, helping them in their struggle to get better conditions. For their efforts, they were framed with the murder of the Mayor of Kabankalan, Pablito Sola. Even though the Mayor had been killed by members of a rebel group called the New Peoples Army, it suited the local ‘sugar barons’ to accuse them of the murder.