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IN HONOR OF DR. NEMESIO PRUDENTE

By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Founding Chairman, Communist Party of the Philippines
Chief Political Consultant, National Democratic Front of the Philippines
4 April 2008

My family and I express sincere condolences to the family of Dr. Nemesio Prudente. We grieve his passing away. At the same time, we accept his well-deserved rest. We know that he has gone to a place of glory where he joins the patriots and heroes of the motherland. We honor him for his many achievements. We celebrate these as various speakers recount them.

He was an outstanding educator. He rose to the position of president of the Philippine College of Commerce and then the Polytechnic University of the Philippines. But most admirable of him was that he promoted and practised that type of education and life of action that is clearly, resolutely and militantly in the service of the Filipino people in their struggle for national liberation, democracy, social justice, development and peace.

Before "Doc" Prudente became the president of the PCC in the 1960s, I had been in touch with PCC student leaders and campus journalists whom I encouraged to form a study group in connection with the project of developing the national democratic movement among the students in the University Belt area and preparing for the organization of Kabataang Makabayan.

When "Doc" Prudente" became the PCC president, we did not know right away what would be his policy towards the student movement. Soon enough, he articulated a progressive nationalist policy and was ever supportive of the students whenever they joined protest mass actions. He also appointed to the faculty patriotic and progressive teachers. Thus, the PCC became one of the most active centers of the anti-imperialist and democratic student movement in the 1960s, in the First Quarter Storm of 1970 and up to the imposition of martial law on the people.

Before I went underground in late 1968, I had become close to "Doc" Prudente because I had frequent conversations with him and Prof. Teodosio Lansang over subjects encompassing philosophy, political economy and social science in connection with current events. "Doc" Prudente had a revolutionary outlook and was seriously interested in the revolutionary transformation of Philippine society from a semicolonial and semifeudal status to an independent and democratic one.

When I was already underground, I continued to communicate with "Doc" Prudente through Charlie del Rosario who was a PCC faculty member. He did not waver in supporting the national democratic movement and student protest mass movement against the US-Marcos regime, even as the writ of habeas corpus was suspended in 1971 and the fascist dictatorship was rapidly taking shape.

He also actively supported the Movement for a Democratic Philippines, the Movement of Concerned Citizens for Civil Liberties and the formation of a workers' institute. He cooperated with the Preparatory Commission of the NDFP and subsequently with the NDFP. He was never cowed by threats of arrest and actual detention. In and out of the fascist prison, he was a model of firm resistance and a modest hardworking man among comrades.

I met "Doc" Prudente for the last time when we attended a fund-raising event for SELDA in the garden of a well-to-do in Dasmarinas Village in 1986. While abroad, I would be saddened and outraged by repeated attempts on his life in 1987. The enemy could not tolerate his ideas and deeds in fighting for the rights of workers, in promoting the united front and in making the PUP an outstanding university of learning and technical training for patriotic and progressive students and teachers.

But "Doc" Prudente was a steadfast revolutionary patriot. He upheld his principles and courageously put his life, limb and liberty on the line in fighting for the just cause of the Filipino people. In his years of retirement from academic life, he continued to have excellent relations with the revolutionary mass movement, especially with the youth and workers. He was held in the highest esteem by the broad masses of the people. His memory and example will always inspire the people. ###

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