GarciaJOSE “Joegar” Garcia, an advocate of “sexual reorientation” and professor at the Faculty of Arts and Letters, succumbed to his eight-month battle with lung and bone cancer last August 31. He was 53.

“He was not only a professor inside the classroom; he also wanted us to grow and experience our field outside of the school,” said Anna Ramona Estrella, a student of Garcia in 2009.

“As a counselor, he respects the progress of each one of us and does not rush us to undergo change immediately,” said Alfie Vargas, a caregiver who sought help from Garcia when the latter was still a counselor the Redemptorist Church in Baclaran.

Garcia was first admitted to the UST Hospital on January 1 due to back pains he had been suffering since August 2009. On the Christmas day last year, according to Vargas, Garcia had his first “painful” attack.

Upon admission to the UST Hospital, Garcia took laboratory tests, and was diagnosed with stage IV bone cancer caused by a tumor in his right lung.

“He was given eight months to one year to live. He calmly accepted the diagnosis and did not seek treatment,” Vargas added.

He experienced difficulty of breathing on August 3, and died at around 7:15 p.m. In his own wish, Garcia was no longer revived

Born in Malabon on May 22, 1957, Garcia was the youngest among eight children of physician Eusebio and Ursula, a nurse.

In a necrological service at the Santissimo Rosario Parish on September 4, Garcia’s relatives, friends, colleagues, and students shared memories of him.

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Crude intentions

“He was a quiet person. We called him gadget boy because he has so many things,” said Arlo Salvador, a colleague in Artlets. “For him, one just needs to be true to himself.”

“Jo was a word. He was a big word, a big man and a big appetite,” said Reynaldo Reyes, also of Artlets.

He was cremated the same day at the La Loma Crematorium in Caloocan.

Garcia obtained his bachelor’s degree in communication arts in 1979 from UST and took his master’s in broadcast communication at the University of the Philippines-Diliman.

He taught radio production, film, and scriptwriting at Artlets and was awarded the Gantimpala Award for Advocacy/Apostolate last February.

Garcia founded the Icthus community in 2008, a ministry acknowledged by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines “for people who want to and are willing to get out of the homosexual condition and lifestyle.”

“[He was featured in shows and magazines because of] his advocacy. Ichtus is a community for sexual reorientation. He founded it because he himself was a homosexual and he wanted to give hope to those who want to change,” Vargas said. Kalaine Nikka Kay C. Grafil

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