It is remarkable that periods of transitions, personal or otherwise, are almost always accompanied by the final, irrevocable act we call Death. The worst is when death’s shadow, like a thief in the night, appears and took the center stage for its victim, loved ones, and friends.
Such is the present period for me when Death collects, without a warning, my loved ones, friends, and colleagues in its irresistible grasp. Some of them we remember now on their first death anniversaries, some we accompany on their final march to eternity, and others still struggle to get out of the suffocating shadow.
To all of you, my eternal thanks for letting me partake of your dreams and work, for the memories we the living relive for you, and for the contributions I know you all want and did deliver for your loved ones, for the community, and for our people. I salute all of you.
Let me quote a favorite poem since the dark days of the dictatorship:
by William Ernest Henley
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.
August 5, 2009
She died a victim of cancer. Yet she lived a victor by playing a key role in excising the cancer that is the Marcos dictatorship from our body politic. By this act alone, the Filipino people owed much to Cory. Yet, she transcended this by becoming the rallying point for safeguarding the democracy she helped brought into being. The people, in their millions, pledged with their feet and with their precious time as they waited patiently to get a last glimpse, gather a last memory, and give a last goodbye. Salamat, Cory. The country will live because you died.
July 8, 2009
I remember the days in UP Diliman in late ’70s when Susan’s melodious voice would soothe heated political debates. Yet hers was a voice of a principled activist who–as passionate as the lyrics of her songs–called for resistance to the Marcos dictatorship. I remember her voice best in the popular protest tapes of Ibong Malaya–whose songs became the anthem of the generation that carried out the sanguine anti-dictatorship struggles from 1984 right up to the People Power of 1986. It is but right that we now pay homage to Susan’s contributions to Philippine nationalism, democracy, and Filipino culture.
Her death leaves us her friends and comrades only our personal memories, but the memory of Susan will live forever in the heart of our people. Mabuhay ka, kasama!
December 19, 2008
Ka Bob Propongo
Ka Bob lived and died as a peasant leader in his hometown of San Enrique, Negros Occidental. He chose to be close to the soil he loved and to the tiller he always identified himself with. Even as he stepped forward into the national limelight as a peasant leader and dealt with a post-Marcos government that wavers on the EDSA pledge to free his fellow peasants from bondage, he also embraced the various opportunities to advance the peasant struggle. His is a genuine hero’s life in service to his people.
December 8, 2008
His was a life well-lived: as selfless, dedicated anti-Marcos fighter, and later, as an NGO worker. He worked for a time as a staff in my institute and contributed to the valuable field experience in electoral work. He was killed by treachery through an assassin’s bullets in Tanauan, Batangas this December 7, 2008.
November 30, 2008
Today, a dear friend died. Reca Parreño crossed the eternal Bar of life/death surrounded by her loving family early this morning. Hers was a short but fulfilled life, in service to our people.
When leaves fall, the tree dies,
When the sun sets, the night is nigh,
But seeds grow, and dawn-sun is Life.
July 6, 2008
On June 23, 2008, Boy was buried in Calinog cemetary. On that day and on the time of burial, the heavens cleared after two days of rains. The rains brought by typhoon Frank inundated the Calinog poblacion, including the cemetary–preventing previous burials.
June 5, 2008
A very personal one: Daniel “Boy” Casiple, Jr.
His was a relatively swift struggle with cancer. A young cousin, he was one of the hundreds of thousands of Filipino seamen who went abroad for their families’ future. An electrical engineer, his was one testimony to the increasing hardship of finding a job that provides a decent income. I see his and the case of the overwhelming majority of our overseas compatriots as an indictment of the continuing failure of the country’s elite leadership to govern for all our people.
May 30, 2008
Comelec Commissioner Romeo Brawner
His was the first real initiative to bring back credibility to the institution through what we would always know now as the Brawner 10-point electoral reform agenda. This included four items directly favored by civil society reform advocates, namely, automation of 2010 and ARMM elections, citizen-voter education, general registration of voters for 2010 or cleansing of the national voters list, and strengthening ties with civil society electoral reform advocates. We will miss him.
Ka Crispin Beltran
I will always remember him as an unswerving loyalist to the cause of the workers and other poor. He lived the life of his passionate advocacy.
August 16, 2010
Ka Oscar “Oca” Francisco
Humble but productive, Ka Oca is a major figure in the struggle against the Marcos dictatorship, helping in building the necessary alliances and coalitions to defeat the dictatorship, pioneering in community and rural organizing, and demonstrating the ideals of unselfish service to the people. He is of the people and the people accepts him as their own.
November 7, 2010
Zenaida Felina Legpitan-Casiple
She lived and died so others may live. An exemplary citizen, serving in our Barangay Ilawod as secretary for almost two decades, serving the poor peasants in the farmer’s cooperative for three decades, serving her Baptist church for almost all her life, my aunt Nay Nayda has been a role model for people in our town for so long that people only started noticing what they missed when she died on October 9, 2010. She lived a life fully lived.
March 2, 2011
Pedro L. Casiple
My uncle, Tay Indo, a retired DBP regional director, died at 4pm yesterday at the age of 87. He lived a quiet and full life.