By TJ Burgonio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Breaking News / Nation
10 August  2008

COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE PHILIPPINES founder Jose Ma. Sison paid tribute Saturday to Lorenzo Tañada, saying the late senator’s fight for independence and democracy remained even more relevant today.

The country marks today the 110th birth anniversary of Tañada.

Sison, in self-exile in the Netherlands, said he had worked with Tañada in the Movement for the Advancement of Nationalism (MAN) and saw up close the late senator’s high intellect and conviction.

He said Tañada’s “resolute and militant struggle” against the Marcos dictatorship in the 1970s “encouraged and strengthened” him while he was living underground and while he was in detention at a military camp.

“Despite his advanced age, [Tañada] engaged in street activism and braved the bullying and assaults of the armed personnel of the state,” Sison said in a statement.

Sison said it was urgent for the Filipinos to celebrate and seek guidance from Tañada’s legacy.

“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 which made him an exemplary fighter for the national and democratic rights and interests of the people,” he said.

Sison said that Tañada’s legacy remained relevant to the Filipinos’ struggle 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,” he said.

He said Tañada exhibited a high standard of morality and fought for the Filipinos’ “economic sovereignty,” and the conservation of the national patrimony.

“We are required by his teachings and example to fight relentlessly against the US-imposed policy of free market globalization,” he said.

Sison said the late senator devoted himself to the struggle to dismantle the US military bases in the Philippines, and was pleased when the 1987 Constitution prohibited the basing of foreign military forces and, in 1991, when the Senate terminated the US-Philippines military bases agreement.

But the post-Aquino regimes sought to circumvent these, Sison said.

“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,” he said.

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