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
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
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
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
Mabuhay ang dakilang alaala ni Ka Tanny!
Isulong ang pakikibaka para sa tunay na kalayaan, katarungan at pambansang
Download message in Word format
Letter of Robbie Tañada
August 12, 2008
Thank you for the soft copy of the poster and the corrected file of
Bayan's tribute to Ka Tanny. Even while re-reading the message, we are
renewed in hope and inspired that Bayan continues to vigorously carry on
with the struggle for truth, justice, freedom and national democracy .
We thank you and BAYAN for the tribute last August 10, knowing only too
well, that in Ka Tanny's work in the parliament of the streets and the
quest for freedom, BAYAN was dear to his heart. After many years of fear
and acquiscence to tyranny, an awakened people bravely marched the
streets, chanting "Ang tao, ang bayan, ngayon ay lumalaban!"
Without doubt, that struck fear in the dictator and his minions.
We remember not only Ka Tanny but also Ka Bert and Rolando Olalia, Lean,
Ka Bel and the many martyrs who have courageously given their lives for
the noble and higher cause.
Mabuhay kayo at maraming salamat.
BAYAN Secretary General Renato
Reyes presents to Robbie Tañada the poster on the 110th commemoration.
Office of the Chairperson
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 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
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,
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
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! ###