Archive for the ‘Communist Party of the Philippines’ Category


A tribute to Rosalie Gracia-Mendoza

13 April 2013

Shrine of St. Therese of the Holy Jesus

 

Note: This is draft that will be finalized based on your comments.  Photos will follow later.  For this reason, a Q&A session will be held after my short talk (Do not deliver this line. Not appropriate in a church. Attention: check against delivery.  Spontaneity ahead). 

Malapad si Rosalie; malapad ang katawan, malapad ang pang-unawa at kalooban.  Kaya di iPad ang dala ko para basahin ang eulogy para sa kanya kundi  isang 15-in wide-screen laptop.

Your thoughts, Rosalie?

Your thoughts, Rosalie?

ROSALIE (aka Ka Lisa and Ka Grace): Loving wife, proper but most caring mother, comrade-in-arms, most solicitous BFF not only to me but to many others, a ready shoulder to cry on, most constructive critic, ardent, nay passionate lover (of food, coffee, and laughter and of Bong) [she would always tell me that since revolutionaries are fiercely committed to the cause, then they are equally passionate about their loved ones], and a very beautifully authentic human being.  Totoo siyang tao, hindi siya Orocan, ika nga ng mga badaf.  Kung agree siya sa iyo, ipapakita niya.  Kung hindi man, alam mo rin.  Sa madaling salita, siya ay transparent at ‘di plastic.

Naka-isang paragraph na ako pero kailangang itanong ko pa rin ang tanong na ito.  HOW DOES ONE WRITE AND DELIVER THE EULOGY FOR THE PERSON YOU LOVE MOST?

Since 1994, writing and delivering eulogies had apparently been my assigned role.  I did the eulogies for my mother Trinidad (the first female civil engineer and district civil engineer of the Philippines) in December 1994, my mother-in-law Esther in June 2003, my sister Daisy in June 2006, my father Amado Sr. in October 2006, my brother-in-law, Romulo Jr., in May 2010, and Manong Chris in March 2011.  While I was not able to personally deliver the eulogy for my uncle, the retired Gen. Reynaldo Mendoza, I got the eulogy published in my e-column in inQ7.net in June 2001.

In all these eulogies, my delivery was flawless save for my brother-in-law’s and Manong Chris’.  I saw Manong Mulito struggle for life and he suffered greatly  in the process.   I could barely finish Manong Mulito’s eulogy in Santa Lucia, Ilocos Sur because I cannot seem to stop from crying.  I was able to see Manong Chris in California before I proceeded to a conference in Nevada in late February 2011.  He was looking good.  Dumalaw uli ako sa kanya bago ako bumalik sa Pilipinas. Medyo bagsak na ang katawan niya.  Manong Chris died two-three days after I arrived back in Manila.  A eulogy was solicited; I did it through Skype.  However, I broke down in tears afterward and Rosalie was there to comfort me.

Yung karanasan ko sa eulogy kay Manong Mulito at Manong Chris ang pumipigil sa akin ngayon.  So noong nag-pla-plano para sa necro ni Rosalie, I innocently (dead-ma) asked my children: who will deliver the eulogy for their mom?  Umasa ako na mag-vo-volunteer si Arlo o kung sino man sa kanila. Nag-tinginan sila at sabay nilang sinabi: syempre ikaw Papa. No brainer question yan.

SO HERE GOES:  Like Manong Chris and Manong Mulito, Rosalie suffered and struggled for life.  However she enjoyed life with me before her great pain.  Before she passed away, we planned grand plans.  We wanted to travel, especially to New York so we can take care of her elder sister, Manang Linda, who also has cancer.  It would have been perfect since I am on a sabbatical leave from UP Diliman up to May 30, 2014.  In hindsight, it was indeed a good thing we visited Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City in 2011.  We made the mistake of booking flights and hotel reservations before obtaining our visas so we were unable to visit Beijing also in 2011. 

The very day she was to be admitted to the hospital for her Whipple surgery (the nature of Whipple’s is discussed in a footnote of this eulogy)[1] last 2 August 2012, she was at the US Embassy for her visa interview.  The admitting physician, Dr. Michael Tee (then our neighbour at UP Hardin ng Rosas) was harassing me: he said “I can’t hold the room any longer; where is the patient?”.  I was in turn harassing Rosalie through calls and SMS about the same issue.  But she took her sweet time; she was quite ecstatic she got the visa. Hindi alam ni Dr. Michael ito at wala akong balak ipaalam pa sa kanya.  Kung malalaman niya, sigurado may mga tsismoso/a dito.  She treated herself and our niece to a nice lunch at the storied Emerald restaurant in front of the embassy.    And I was told that she bought some pieces of clothing appropriate for GETTING DISCHARGED FROM THE HOSPITAL!

Now I think I know now the eulogy that’s appropriate for Rosalie: a person who drunk fully from the fountain of love and life and who unselfishly shared these same gifts not only with me and our children and relatives but to all.  Kilabot siya ng kasambahay. Ng security guard. Ng taxi driver. Ng elevator girl. At maraming iba pa.  Siya ang number one crowd drawer ni Manong Mulito noong nasa pulitika pa si Kuya.  Tinanong ko siya kung balak niyang pumasok sa pulitika sa Ilocos Sur.  Ang sagot niya hindi kailangan. 

Maraming siyang nailigtas na mga estudyante ko sa failing grade (5.0).  Papayuhan niya ako na pag-isipan kong mabuti kung talagang kailangang bigyan ng 5 ang isang estudyante.  Ang paliwang niya: ang 5 ay isang trauma. Maaring wake-upper ito pero puede siyang major downer.  Kaya siguro maraming nag-boluntaryo sa mga mag-aaral ko na mag-bigay ng dugo para sa kanya.  Tantiya ko, wala masyadong gagawa noon kung ang identity ko ay naka-focus na kabilang ako sa mga “M” na supposedly dapat daw iwasan sa UP Political Science (Ka Pepe Miranda, Alex Magno, at ako).  Buti nga nabawasan na raw; dati nan-dyan pa si Noel Morada.

Of course, Rosalie is no saint; may kagalit din siya (madalas ang inyong abang lingkod). Pag galit ka niya, ladot! (Tulad ng sabi ng aming apo na si Luc(t)as)  Pero, hindi nagtatagal ang galit niya lalo kung ikaw na naka-galit niya ay kusang lalapit sa kanya para makipag-bati.  Ang aking peace offering? Brewed coffee, breakfast (scrambled, not fried, eggs at buttered pan de sal), panood ng sine, foot and back massage, at yung alam nyo na.

Mahilig si Rosalie sa kuwentuhan tungkol sa buhay-buhay lalo ang love life hindi lamang ng artista kundi pati ng mga kamag-anak at kaibigan.  Nalulungkot siya pag may nag-hiwalay o namatay.  It is always left unsaid; umaasa siya na baka mag-kabalikan ang mga nag-away at nag-hiwalay.

So papaano naman kami nag-kakilala?.  UP ako, FEU naman siya.  It was the struggle against the Marcos dictatorship which brought us together, bound us together.  We were both full-time activists when we first met at the Political Science Department (coincidence,  coincidence), Faculty Center (c/o Ed Maranan or was it Temy Rivera or Rolly Yu?) in mid-1972.   Rosalie was actually a ‘stow-away’, the term activists then used for those who either left their homes to work full-time or were cast off their homes because her parents did not approve of her political activity.  She was living in the regional headquarters of the Kabataang Makabayan, a kilometer or so away along Quezon Avenue (opposite the studio of Wow-willie).

At the time, I, together with some others, was operating in Tuguegarao City and had the entire province of Cagayan as our area of responsibility.  We went to Manila to recruit more seasoned activitists and Rosalie and Tess readily joined us.  It was not love at first sight.  For both of us.  Her impression of me was that of a typical intellectual-activist from UP who supposedly looked down on activists from lesser schools, e.g., FEU or the generic University Belt. In short, I had no warmth.  I was supposed to accompany her to Tuguegarao but she did not agree.  Hindi pa naimbento yung nose bleed pero yun na ang pakiramdan niya.  Ano naman daw ang pag-uusapan namin sa mahabang biyahe ng mga 12 oras? Nose bleed talaga!

Eventually, si Jimmy na ka-klase niya sa FEU ang sumundo at nag-dala sa kanya sa Tuguegarao.  Pero may blooper siya. Major major.  It’s laglagan time!  Hindi ko alam kung bakit nagka-mali siya e laking probinsya naman siya, cacique nga lang (private joke namin dahil tisay siya at ako’y isang Indio).

Sa rice fields ng Nueva Vizcaya, excited niyang ginising si Jimmy at itinuro yung bagong tanim na palay na kulay green at abot halos sa bundok.  Aniya–bermuda grass, ang dami at ang ganda.  Sabagay, grass din naman ang palay.

Hindi nga love at first sight.  In my case, she will grow on me.  She is an acquired taste.  Her courage, determination, and kind heart won me over.  Of course, her external beauty and smile were bonuses. The acquisition though did not take a long while.  I asked that she be my love on her birthday, Sept. 27 (a few days after the imposition of martial law) and she accepted me as a birthday gift.  Tanong ni Cuz Mini:  papaano niligawan at napa-ibig ng isang suplado ang isang Rosalie?  Under the strained circumstances of the first week of the declaration of martial law, I courted her through letters.  Ang sabi niya sa akin–hindi daw niya nakikita ang simangot ko kapag binabasa niya ang mga sulat ko.  Persuasive daw; I was a good advocate of myself.  Dagdag pa, yung kaibigan niya, si Mareng Tess, na kapwa aktibista ay boto sa akin at pine-pressure siya ng husto na tanggapin ako.  Kaagad!

We were almost arrested in Tuguegarao City in April 1973.  We retreated to the metropolis and was sheltered by my fraternity brothers in UP Alpha Sigma who also treated her as a sister.  We could have stayed in safety with the brods but we wanted to continue the struggle.  We were assigned to Barrio Magsaysay, Tondo, Manila in September 1973.  I was captured by a composite Manila Police-Metropolitan Command team on 16 September 1973.  I heaved a sigh of great relief when I learned she was able to get away. 

In hindsight, my capture was a great blessing.  We did not know at the time that she contracted tuberculosis from Ka Flor, the comrade who sheltered her.  Both of us then were malnourished and so stressed out.  If I was not captured, she would have languished in the slum areas and the possibility of losing her and Tricia was quite great.  When I was placed under custody, Rosalie found her way to her relatives and transferred to the care of BFF Manang (aka General) Tessie Mendoza who nourished her and provided vital pre-natal care.  Manang Tess also provided a nom de guerre and safe house since Rosalie was still wanted by the minions of the Marcos dictatorship.

Tricia was born while I was detained and I saw her and Rosalie two weeks after her birth.  What a happy occasion!  Afterwards, a news black-out. My mother Trinidad was in charge of black out and cover-up operations.  They intercepted Rosalie’s letters and gave me good news all the time.  Of course, Rosalie and I were very frustrated.  Tricia battled whooping cough and almost died during the first five months of her life.  I could just imagine Rosalie’s agony–a husband detained and a daughter fighting for her life, a daughter she cannot take care of since she has tuberculosis. 

BTW, Rosalie cannot visit me at the detention center because we’re not married officially.  Girlfriends or even fiancées cannot visit detainees.  We got married through the help of family and relatives and I was escorted out of the detention center by six fully-armed and uniformed Philippine Army soldiers.  We thought that would alarm Rosalie’s neighbours in La Loma.  But the word got around that I (or my father or mother) was a big shot and the soldiers were my security detail. 

After my release from detention, we persisted in underground political work.  We had to build our legal fronts; we went back to school to earn our bachelor’s degrees.  We led two lives: above-ground with legitimate employment and under-ground with clandestine activities.  For this reason, we had to transfer residences (cum safe houses) every now and then.  Our first two daughters thought that was normal.

During much of this period, Rosalie had to deal with a constant irritant.  She was always referred to as the wife of Bong, not as Rosalie, who is a person and comrade in her own right.  This is compounded by a rule in the underground that couples need to work in the same line or unit for security reasons.  In all cases, the male cadre ends up the supervisor of the female cadre. 

The situation changed and was remedied after the assassination of Ninoy Aquino and EDSA 1986.  Our political assignments became more and more above-ground and Rosalie found herself in the human rights and feminist fronts.  Unfortunately, when I  and other comrades ran afoul of the Gods of the underground, she became collateral damage.

Cast off the political movement to which we gave our youth and best years, it took a while before we found our full bearings.  Both of us continued to take care of our children.  I decided to concentrate on my academic work and studies.  Meanwhile, Rosalie found refuge in the feminist movement (particularly through ISIS).  However, she also had to move on because of health issues (the Bakers’ cyst). Later on, she started a business-cum-advocacy centered on Ilokano products (the usual foodstuffs like bagnet, langonisa but also pushed Ilokano blankets and the inabel or abel (believed to be used as sail cloth for Spanish galleons).  After ISIS, she was drawn to electoral work with IPER.

I will say that we survived the Marcos dictatorship and the purges within the Communist Party of the Philippines.  Famously.  I will say they are minor irritations.  I can honestly and proudly assert that WE managed to raise a very beautiful, strong, and caring family.  The extreme stresses of leading a double life, the dangers of getting captured did not prevent us from co-producing three daughters and a son.  She lightened the load.  It is known that I am worrier.  She is actually older than me but it does not show since she smiles a lot.  That’s why she’s beautiful and I look like the family driver. To this day.

Her younger brother copied us–producing three daughters in quick succession.  Then they pulled a surprise on us–their son Iggy!  PRESSURE.  We had to scour the books and scrolls of the ancients for a reliable formula to produce a son.  When Arlo was still inside, I asked her: suppose it was still a daughter, do we go for the fifth one? She said NO.  She said, if ever, you will learn to live with five (5) females (including her).  That’s not so bad.  Those of you who have all sons–you know the house as an athletic gym with stinky rubber shoes and socks all over the place.  If you had daughters, then you have a congress. The house is in order but everybody, just everybody is talking and you cannot have your say.

So what was the formula?  It was an ancient Chinese formula.  What did it say?  None of the usual like do it in the morning rather than at night or do it on the dining table rather than under it.  It had only two related bilins:  Change your gynecologist.  Change your maternity hospital.  Voila:  Aarlo reported for duty in May 14, 1991.

I guess all of us have fond memories of Rosalie including those of the difficult times she went through in the PGH.  Before I close, I like to pay homage to the professional skills and acumen of  the PGH medical and nursing staff, esp. of the Central ICU, and thank them (esp. Dr. Bautista, sister of my former student and Facebook friend Ken Bautista)  for caring for Rosalie until the last second.  Special mention to Dr. Michael Tee (her admitting physician and internist) and her surgeon, Dr. Anthony Perez, who performed the Whipple and the tracheaotomy.  Dr. Perez was assisted by his wife as anesthesiologist and his residents. 

The difficult time she went through since 2 August 2012 to 6 April 2013 is a very small fraction of her happy and productive life.

Let’s please remember Rosalie not as a cancer victim but as a beautiful human being who has touched our lives with her good cheer, grace, and concern.

I was with Rosalie from 27 September 1972 to 6 April 2013–close to 41 years of bliss, treasures, and lessons in love and life.

One of my Facebook post over the past two weeks ran like so: Love is life and versa.  I did not write that alone.  Rosalie helped me do it.

Till we meet again, my darling,  my baket Rosalie.


[1] A tumor was found in the head of Rosalie’s pancreas.  The preliminary diagnosis was the tumor was not benign and thus surgery was immediately needed.  If the tumor was in the pancreas’ tail, the surgery would have been simple.  Just lop off the tail together with the tumor.  Since the tumor was in the head, a more complicated surgery was needed since the head of pancreas touches several organs. So a Whipple surgical procedure (named after the surgeon who invented it) involves excising the head of the pancreas (with the tumor), the entire gall bladder, part of the stomach, and part of the duodenum and then putting what needed putting back together again.

Advertisements

August 21 is a most significant day in Philippine political history.

Exactly forty one years ago, the proclamation rally (otherwise called miting de abanse) of the opposition Liberal Party in Plaza Miranda in the center of Manila was bombed with two grenades.  Fortunately, one of the grenades was a dud and nine people including a girl and Manila Times photographer Ben Roxas died and 95 were injured.  I remember a photo of the dying Roxas published the day after staring right into the camera–dazed but seemingly not in pain.  Almost all the Liberal Party’s candidates for senator and local posts in Manila were severely wounded.

Photo-montage of Plaza Miranda bombing

President Ferdinand Marcos responded to the bombing by suspending the writ of habeas corpus through Proclamation No. 889, later amended by Proclamation No. 889-A  supposedly to align the suspension with the bill of rights provision of the Constitution.  He promptly blamed the communists for the bombing and justified the writ suspension as necessary to restore peace and order.

While Marcos was the usual suspect for the Plaza Miranda bombing, several personalities including former Senator Jovito Salonga (who was seriously injured during the rally) began to believe that the communists were responsible.  Victor Corpus, the army lieutenant who carted arms from the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) and joined the communist-led New People’s Army (NPA) in 1970, wrote in his book Silent War he was present when top communist leaders including Jose Ma. Sison, plotted the bombing.  Sison argued the bombing will be a win-win for the communists: Marcos will be put on the defensive, the ruling class will be split, and the revolutionary cause could thus advance.   Corpus will repeat this same allegation in an interview with veteran Filipino journalist Max Soliven. Sison and his followers have repeatedly denied these allegations.

Aquino in white being carried by soldiers on the airport tarmac; the other body is that of alleged gunman Rolando Galman (from Times Journal)

Ninoy Aquino in his prime

Exactly twenty nine years ago–Benigno Aquino Jr–the man believed by many to most likely have been the President of the Philippines if Marcos did not declare martial law in September 1972 was assassinated in the Manila International Airport minutes after his plane landed.  The alleged gunman, Rolando Galman, was killed by government troops supposedly after he killed Ninoy Aquino.  Marcos again blamed the communists for Aquino’s murder and alleged that Galman was acting under their orders.

In both occasions, Marcos’ accusations against the communists were not believed.  Most thought that he ordered both the bombing of the Liberal Party proclamation rally and the assassination of Ninoy Aquino.  The logic behind the belief?  The physical elimination of the Liberal Party leadership would redound to his ruling party’s benefit.  The writ’s suspension was seen as a cover-up for the Plaza Miranda bombing.  The death of Ninoy removes the strongest opposition figure that could threaten Marcos’ lifetime rule.

Marcos and Ninoy, fraternity brothers, in happier times (from MLQ3)

The ebullient Ninoy chatting with fellow passengers in that fateful China Airlines flight

Everybody from the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to the communists were being blamed for Ninoy’s death.  His death likewise spawned a fever of jokes.  One of the most popular run like this:

Ninoy: Hindi ka nag-iisa (Ninoy, you’re not alone!)

Marcos: Naka-isa ka! (Marcos, you put one over all of us!)

Galman:  Naisahan ka! (Galman, you’ve been had!)

Still another:  Use Galman briefs! It will bring out the killer in you.

Ninoy’s body loaded into a military van

Ninoy led by soldier out of plane (from Facebook account of Boom Enriquez)

Kidding aside, Ninoy’s assassination was the game-changer in the political struggle against the Marcos dictatorship.  Prior to August 21, 1983, the opposition to the regime was born  by armed rebels–communists and Muslim secessionists.  The legal opposition got scattered when Marcos closed the legislature, arrested and imprisoned many, and sent scores to exile.  Some of them dabbled in violence through the Light-a-Fire and April 6 Liberation movements.

However, Ninoy’s death emboldened hitherto inert social forces such as the middle class, businessmen, professionals, clergy and like  to express their strong opposition to the authoritarian regime.   On a sustained basis.  Until February 1986 when Marcos and his immediate coterie left for Hawaii.

The armed opposition did not figure well in this end game against Marcos.  They lost what business theorists and military strategists call the ‘first mover advantage’.  The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) absorbed the brunt of Marcos’ military offensives as it fought conventional warfare in the early going.  In 1977, it signed a peace agreement with Marcos only to be outwitted by the latter in the agreement’s (non)implementation.  The MNLF resumed its military struggle but was soon weakened by a split that produced the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).  The communists were sidelined when they decided to boycott the ‘snap elections’ that pitted Marcos against Ninoy’s widow, Cory Cojuangco Aquino.  EDSA 1986 was a sea of yellow–the color associated with Cory and the moderate political forces.  A lot of communists and radicals were also there; however, they could not unfurl their red banners.

Of course, the picture was not a black-and-white one.  The radicals joined the newly enervated political forces from the middle class in regular protests against Marcos.  The rallying cry was: Justice for (Ninoy) Aquino, Justice for All!  They parted ways in the 1984 parliamentary elections: Cory and her allies decided to participate and won a significant number of seats while the radicals predictably boycotted.

By 1985, the trajectory was quite clear.  The strength of the moderates had grown so much.  As a result, they spurned a coalition, BAYAN, with the radicals.  They formed their own group, BANDILA.

EDSA 1986 actually started with a failed military coup led by the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) led by Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and his protege, Colonel Gregorio Honasan.  It soon morphed into a peaceful uprising as Jaime Cardinal Sin called on the faithful to gather en masse to protect the rebel soldiers from the loyalists.  The failure of the military coup contemplated for early 1986 and the communist boycott of the snap elections allowed non-violent forces to claim victory against Marcos in February 1986. The key figure here was the martyred Aquino – likened to the national hero, José Rizal (1861-96), or even to Jesus Christ. Neither the dictatorship nor the insurgents and the military rebels had any equivalent.

Unmadeup Ninoy in his coffin

Ninoy’s bloodied and bruised remains in an open coffin were visited by hundreds of thousands at the Santo Domingo Church.  When he was finally laid to rest in Paranaque City, the funeral march took some 11 hours to reach its final destination.  The historic event was practically ignored by the regime-controlled mass media.  I remember that the Philippine Daily Express (derisively called the Daily Suppress) chose to report the death by lightning of a person who was watching the funeral procession.

Elsewhere in Luzon, the other victim–Rolando Galman–was mourned and buried without much ado by his relatives and friends.

C’est la vie?

C’est la guerre?

Secretary Jesse Robredo

Meanwhile, this morning today, the death of Interior Secretary and Ramon Magsaysay Awardee for Good Governance Jesse Robredo was announced after his body was recovered in the waters off Masbate island.  The reader is enjoined to a say a prayer for this quiet and good man and public servant.

The big question


Horacio “Boy” Morales Jr., better known as BM, died on the last day of February of the current (leap) year, after failing to recover from a heart attack on December 2011.

Horacio "Boy" Morales

While BM is more known for being the agrarian reform secretary during the presidency of Joseph Ejercito Estrada, he actually had a multi-faceted resume both within and outside government and within and outside the Philippines.  As the bards would put it, he led a full life.

My first awareness of BM was in 1977 when the ranks of the underground anti-Marcos movement were pleasantly surprised by news that he left his post as executive vice president of the Development Academy of the Philippines to join the National Democratic Front (NDF).  His move was electrifying since he sent a statement signifying his intent during the ceremonies naming him one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) of the country for public administration.

I never met or worked with BM while we were both in the underground movement.  From what I heard, he worked with Fr. Ed de la Torre to temper the NDF program and make it more acceptable to so-called ‘middle’ or moderate political forces in the country.  The earlier insistence that only NDF members can constitute a post-Marcos government was dropped.  It was considered untenable since all NDF members recognized the primacy of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).   The earlier formula thus called for a Party-dominated post-Marcos regime.

In its place, BM and Fr. Ed proposed the concept of a ‘democratic coalition government” that will include all political forces that fought the dictatorship.  Democracy necessarily entails elections.  But the greater fear of the non-NDF political actors stems from the asymmetry within the anti-dictatorship forces.  Only the NDF had links to an armed force, the New People’s Army (NPA). While the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) had an armed force, it appeared at the time to pursuing an agenda of secession or regional autonomy and was not interested in a strategic post-Marcos alliance specially if dominated by Communists.

To allay the fears of and build strategic alliances with middle forces, the NDF undertook what would  be called ‘united front’ or UF work.

A related political innovation is the proposal for a ‘mixed economy.’  It was adopted both for political and economic reasons.  Politically, the proposal will douse fears that a Soviet-type command economy will be put in place by a Communist-dominated government.  Economically, it recognized that a command economy will yield inferior results compared to an economy that allowed private entrepreneurship but did not restrain government from intervening in cases of market failure. The mixed economy concept retained the commitment to a strategic industrial policy, or, in the parlance of NDF cadres and activists, ‘nationalist industrialization.’

Obviously, the two proposals were still raw and needed a lot of fleshing out so they can be considered programmatic and actionable.  The arrest of BM and Fr. Ed in 1982 and their subsequent incarceration put a dent on the effort.

I met BM for the first time after he was released from prison in 1986.  At the time, he assumed the presidency of the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM), a development non-governmental organization (NGO).  Through his guidance, PRRM formulated the Sustainable Rural District Development Program (SRDDP).  It looked like the Marcosian Integrated Area Development Program (IADP), the formulation of which I suspect BM participated in.  After all, BM is a professional trained economist with degrees from the University of the Philippines and the University of Oklahoma.

The two programs however differed in SRDDP’s emphasis on social preparation and mobilization of grassroots stakeholders to ensure the development program’s sustainability.

The PRRM was one of the founding members of the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) whose objectives included debt relief to effect economic recovery and cancellation of fraudulent debts.  At one point, I accompanied BM on a trip abroad to raise funds for the FDC.  Part of the effort included raising awareness of the Philippine foreign debt problem among European activists and potential funders.  There was this 1988 conference in London where three BMs (Boy, myself, and Butch Montes of the UP School of Economics) were the conference speakers.  While I believe we managed to get our message across, we cannot satisfactorily answer criticisms from feminists regarding the absence of a female speaker.  Forever a diplomat, Boy promised female speakers will join future panels on Philippine foreign debt problems.

Through BM’s auspices, PRRM published a book I edited entitled Debts of Dishonor in 1992.  The book featured, among others, the fraudulent loans that funded the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP).

From 1992 up to about 1996, I would often see or meet BM during PRRM events.  In late 1996, BM and Fr. Ed asked me if I could join them in a non-political party movement that will support Joseph Estrada’s presidential bid.  I told both that I could not because I believed Erap will not be a good president.  BM tried again and said it was a good opportunity for Leftists to join government if Erap wins.  I knew that there was more than a good chance since Erap was a sure winner.  However, I maintained my position and we parted ways agreeing to disagree.

After Estrada was deposed, I saw BM rarely.  I did not know that he suffered a heart attack late last year.  Facebook and mass media had to inform me that he passed away.

I ask the reader of this post to say a prayer for BM and his family.  However, there is no reason to grieve and every reason to celebrate–to celebrate his life and his work.

Bon voyage BM!