BAGONG ALYANSANG MAKABAYAN
Message on the 110th Birth Anniversary of Lorenzo Tañada:
BAYAN Founding Chair,
Grand Old Man of Philippine Politics
August 10, 2008
Bantayog ng mga Bayani, Quezon City
The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) joins the Tañada family and freedom-fighters nationwide in celebrating Ka Tanny’s 110th birth anniversary.
We celebrate Ka Tanny’s life by sharing with the Filipino people, especially the youth, the legacy of Bayan’s founding chair, and our Grand Old Man of Philippine Politics.
Ka Tanny earned the distinction of being the longest-serving senator in Philippine history. From 1947, he served as a member of the Senate for 24 years. But more importantly, it was outside the halls of the Senate that he gained distinction as one of the greatest leading and uniting figures in the Parliament of the Streets.
Ka Tanny’s name became synonymous with freedom, justice and democracy as he stood at the forefront of the struggle against widespread poverty and inequality, corruption and tyranny, from the time when he founded the Movement for the Advancement of Nationalism (MAN) in 1966, up to the height of the anti-dictatorship struggle and even after the downfall of Marcos. Ka Tanny became one of the greatest enemies of the US-backed Marcos dictatorship. He also organized the Anti-Bases Coalition and other groups that rallied public opposition to the presence of US troops in the Philippines.
In 1983, after Senator Ninoy Aquino’s assassination, Ka Tanny became a leading personality of JAJA (Justice for Aquino, Justice for All). Earlier, he was also a leading figure in the formation of the People’s Movement for Independence, Nationalism and Democracy and the National Coalition for the Protection of Workers’ Rights.
When Ka Bert Olalia, Ka Crispin Beltran and other militant labor leaders were arrested, Ka Tanny was most vocal in condemning the brutal attacks on trade unions. He was the first ever politician allowed to speak before a big demonstration of the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU).
A year before the founding assembly of Bayan, he also led the formation of NAJFD (Nationalist Alliance for Justice, Freedom and Democracy). In 1985, Ka Tanny became Bayan’s founding Chairperson.
Ka Tanny attended meetings and preparations of Bayan for the huge rallies that were often met with fascist force. As he arrived in a wheelchair pushed by Bayan secretary general Lean Alejandro, he would always be welcomed with warm smiles and applause. Ka Tanny would listen intently to the planning sessions and then he would lean forward and comment on the formations and conduct of the mobilizations. With Ka Tanny at the front line, there was always a feeling of assurance among the rallyists that even though the rally could be dispersed, there would be a Ka Tanny who would raise his mighty voice against such state violence.
In spite of his advanced years, Ka Tanny is best remembered by Bayan as the distinguished parliamentarian who was at home in the streets.
Ka Tanny led Bayan Cental Luzon (CL) and Bayan national leaders and forces in the renowned Welgang Bayan against Marcos’ plan to build a nuclear plant in Bataan. Bayan and its allied organizations conducted several waves of campaigns to enlighten and rally the public against the nuclear plant. When Bayan CL decided to call for a welgang bayan, Ka Tanny went to Pampanga and there, despite being in his wheel chair, together with all the Bayan forces, positioned himself in the middle of the street to protest. That day, no vehicles could be seen plying the busy streets of Pampanga because everybody heeded the call for a massive strike.
Due to differences with other Bayan leaders regarding the 1986 snap presidential elections, Ka Tanny took a leave of absence from the alliance as he opted to participate in the elections. When Gen. Fidel Ramos and company made their move against the Marcos dictatorship, Ka Tanny immediately resumed his leadership in Bayan and started mobilizing forces for the EDSA 1 People Power uprising.
Ka Tanny, who had been undergoing kidney dialysis, finally rested in 1992 at the age of 93. It is well known that on the day of his dialysis, Ka Tanny chose to attend the September 16, 1991 Senate deliberations on the extension of the US-RP Military Bases Treaty. After the historic vote against the rejection of the treaty, Ka Tanny, stood up and shouted with all his might, “Mabuhay.”
Just a few years later, the Senate ratification of the US-RP Visiting Forces Agreement betrayed one of Ka Tanny’s greatest victories against US military interventionism in the Philippines. He certainly would have been at the forefront in opposing the VFA and all other unjust policies of whoever was the current US puppet.
Present-day politicians should emulate the brilliant example of Ka Tanny and his brand of nationalism and tireless engagement in the people’s anti-fascist and anti-imperialist struggle.
Under present conditions of ever worsening poverty and inequality brought about by a corrupt government that is subservient to US economic and geo-political interests, we celebrate Ka Tanny’s life by rallying Bayan and the Filipino people to continue his battles. Present-day activists, especially the youth, can gain inspiration from Ka Tanny who loved and served the people to his very last breath.
Today, we also remember another birthday celebrant, Ma. Luisa ‘Luing’ Posa Dominado, a human rights activist who shared the passion of Ka Tanny in standing up for freedom, justice and democracy. Ka Luing was imprisoned four times under the Marcos dictatorship. It has been one year and four months since the abduction of Ka Luing and peasant activist Ka Nilo Arado by three armed men in Iloilo on April 12, 2007.
Surely, Ka Tanny would have been with us in the Bayan-led rallies to demand justice for the hundreds of victims of extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances and all forms of human rights abuse under the Arroyo watch.
Ka Tanny is sorely missed. But his spirit remains alive, strong and unbending, in the multitude of patriotic and freedom-loving Filipinos today who continue to fight for genuine democracy, freedom and social justice.
Mabuhay ang dakilang alaala ni Ka Tanny!
Isulong ang pakikibaka para sa tunay na kalayaan, katarungan at pambansang demokrasya!
LONG LIVE THE GREAT LEGACY OF SENATOR LORENZO M.TAÑADA
By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson, International Coordinating Committee
International League of Peoples’ Struggle
August 10, 2008
I am deeply pleased and highly honored to join the Tañada clan, friends, the various organizations and institutions and the broad masses of the people in celebrating the 110th birth anniversary of the great Filipino patriot Senator Lorenzo M. Tañada, champion of national independence and democracy, principled statesman, brilliant legislator, civil libertarian and fearless militant against oppression, be it by the Japanese fascist invaders or the homegrown fascist dictator Marcos.
I am proud to have personally known Senator Tañada since he delivered the keynote speech at the founding of Kabataang Makabayan on November 30, 1964. He exhorted us to emulate Andres Bonifacio and the Katipunan and to continue the unfinished Philippine revolution. I worked closely with him under his chairmanship of the committee that prepared the founding of the Movement for the Advancement of Nationalism (MAN) in 1966 and even more closely after the founding congress elected him as MAN chairman and myself as general secretary on February 8, 1967.
I am thankful for the inspiration, knowledge and experience that I gained from working with Senator Tañada in MAN under his leadership. He was a man of high intellect and deep conviction. He was always serious and meticulous in examining drafts and possible courses of action. I remember fondly the council meetings and the informal meetings where we would exchange views and he would often arrive ahead of everyone else at the effectively exact phrase in meaning and nuance to persuade people within the nationalist or anti‐imperialist context. He was always supportive of the mass actions to express protest and make demands against US imperialism and the servile government.
Senator Tañada’s resolute and militant struggle against the Marcos fascist dictatorship encouraged and strengthened me when I was underground and then when I was under military detention. Despite his advanced age, he engaged in street activism and braved the bullying and assaults of the armed personnel of the state.
Like everyone else in the national democratic movement, I admired his leadership in a series of alliances (especially BAYAN of which he was the founding chairman) and his active participation in indoor and outdoor rallies and other forms of activities for the purpose of seeking the end of the Marcos dictatorship. He delivered powerful messages to denounce the criminal acts of the regime and to inspire the people to resist.
It is of high and urgent importance to celebrate and seek guidance from the great legacy that Senator Tañada has bequeathed to us all. We need to refresh and revitalize ourselves with the principles that he enunciated so lucidly and so vigorously and with the actions that he undertook and made him an exemplary fighter for the national and democratic rights and interests of the people.
To this day the Tañada legacy is of vital significance and relevance to the struggle of the Filipino people for complete national independence, democracy, good governance, social justice, development and durable peace. We are confronted by a government that is shamelessly servile to US imperialism, extremely corrupt and exploitative and unrestrained in repressing the people and committing human rights violations.
Senator Tañada had a high standard of morality for both private life and public service. He espoused and practised the clean and honest service to the people which he required of all government officials. As senator, he first became well known as a crusader against graft and corruption. We are obliged by his teachings and example to fight uncompromisingly against a regime that has prolonged itself through electoral fraud and whose corruption knows no limits. The Arroyo regime has no moral and legitimate basis whatsoever.
Senator Tañada stood for the economic sovereignty of the people, the conservation of our national patrimony and the development of the country through national industrialization and land reform. We are required by his teachings and example to fight relentlessly against the US‐imposed policy of “free market” globalization. This is a tricky phrase for obscuring the reality of monopoly capitalism and favoring the US and other multinational firms and banks through the denationalization of our economy, liberalization, privatization and deregulation.
We must denounce the policy of keeping the Philippine economy, agrarian, semi‐feudal and preindustrial, producing only raw materials and semi‐manufactures for export and always borrowing heavily from abroad to cover trade deficits, to finance outward capital and profit remittances and to conjure the false illusion of economic growth. The dumping of surplus manufactures and agricultural products from abroad has ruined local production and has made the country a victim of manipulated shortages and price gouging by foreign monopolies.
The people are suffering terribly from the rising debt and tax burden, the rapid increase of unemployment, the plunging level of income, the soaring prices of fuel, food and other basic commodities and the rising fees for deteriorating basic social services. The Arroyo regime does not offer any kind of solution or even mere alleviation to the suffering people. It is now floundering due to the international credit crunch and lower orders for the kind of exports that the Philippine makes. It is obsessed with raising the tax burden in an economy that is already bankrupt and depressed.
Senator Tañada consistently and vigorously upheld, defended and promoted the national sovereignty of the Filipino people and the territorial integrity of the Philippines. He devoted himself to the struggle for the dismantling the US military bases in the Philippines. He was pleased when the 1987 constitution prohibited the basing of foreign military forces and the introduction of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction. He was elated when in September 1991 the Philippine Senate passed the resolution terminating the US‐RP Military Bases Agreement.
But the regimes succeeding the Aquino regime have sought to circumvent and reverse these victories of the people and patriotic leaders like Senator Tañada with a series of agreements allowing US military forces to enter and occupy any or all parts of the Philippines under various pretexts and to operate as they please even in violation of Philippine sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Arroyo regime has been the worst in treasonously increasing the pretexts for US military intervention and for actually allowing the continuous and increasing presence of US military forces in the Philippines.
Under the guise of combating terrorism, the US policy of “global war on terror” has whipped up war hysteria and war production in the US, wars of aggression against Iraq and Afghanistan, repressive laws and state terrorism on a global scale. The Arroyo regime has followed the policy not only in abject subservience to its imperialist master but also in pursuit of its selfish interest in getting US blessings and some amount of military assistance and in using the military and police forces to keep it in power, to suppress the patriotic and progressive forces and intimidate the broad array of opposition forces and the broad masses of the people.
The gross and systematic violations of human rights have outraged the Filipino people and the people of the world and have fanned up the flames of the armed revolution for national liberation and democracy. All the vicious attempts of the US and Arroyo regime to destroy the revolutionary movement with the so‐called military solution, Oplan Bantay Laya I and II, have failed but have only succeeded in rousing revolutionary resistance and paralyzing the GRP‐NDFP peace negotiations.
We must overcome the impediments to the resumption of the peace negotiations. If we cannot resume the negotiations during the Arroyo regime, we must prepare for doing so after this regime. We must strive to achieve a just and lasting peace by addressing the roots of the armed conflict and agreeing on the social, economic and political reforms that must be undertaken.
It is possible to make comprehensive agreements on such reforms if both the GRP and the NDFP avail of and draw from the rich legacy of Senator Tañada those general principles that he enunciated and those concrete basic reforms that he proposed for making the Philippines truly independent, democratic, socially just, prosperous and peaceful.
May the wisdom of Senator Tañada continue to enlighten and inspire us. His teachings and his deeds are relevant to the understanding of our problems and to the solutions that we can undertake as a nation. Let us summon the memory of the great patriot Senator Tañada clenching his fist to defy the reign of greed and terror and signal the people to rise up and exercise their power against their adversary. Long live the great legacy of Senator Lorenzo M. Tañada! ###
Apat na dekada sa buhay ni Ka Tanny
Public Information Department BAYAN
Ika-10 ng Agosto 1985
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