LONG LIVE THE GREAT LEGACY
OF SENATOR LORENZO M.TAŅADA
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 Taņada 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. Taņada, champion of national independence
and democracy, principled statesman, brilliant legislator, civil libertarian
and fearless militant against oppression, be it the Japanese fascist occupation
or the homegrown fascist dictatorship of Marcos.
I am proud to have personally known Senator Taņada 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 Taņada 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 Taņada'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 Taņada 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 Taņada 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
Senator Taņada 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 Taņada 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, privatisation 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 Taņada 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
Taņada 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 Taņada 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 Taņada 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 Taņada 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. Taņada! ###