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The relevance of Priscila (Cil) Manalang

Expensive readers, I invite you to learn this piece about my late mom-in-law, Priscila Santos Manalang, or Cil. Whereas being sentimental is partly the explanation why I’m scripting this — the household not too long ago commemorated her 103rd beginning anniversary (birthdate: Jan. 20, 1919) — I write about her due to her persevering with relevance to our instances.

Mama, fondly referred to as Cil by her pals and colleagues, was not simply my mom-in-law. She was likewise a buddy and extra. My late spouse Mae would generally tease me that her mother was my different girlfriend. For instance, the three of us would often watch live shows, dine out, or exit of city.

As a buddy, and never as mom-in-law, Cil would even take the initiative of modifying my notes or papers. Mae was my fixed editor, however undoubtedly, she inherited her talent in writing and modifying from her mother.

In fact, it was Cil who facilitated my first date with Mae. She instructed Mae to contact me and ask for a duplicate of the speech on overseas debt that then-Senator Alberto Romulo delivered on the founding Congress of the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC). I then served as FDC’s secretary-general. Mae was a volunteer and helped set up the FDC Congress. And so, Mae gave me a name, and we met so I might give her Romulo’s speech for her mother. That lunch meet lasted for a number of hours, which made it a date.

Cil likewise thought of me a peer, a colleague, a comrade. One cause we turned very shut was due to our shared activism. She was pleased with being an activist, and he or she described herself as a “democratic socialist.” She all the time valued equality and solidarity, the hallmark of being a socialist. And she or he confirmed her socialism not solely in grand methods but additionally in “little acts of kindness” to the downtrodden.

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Cil’s being a socialist was appropriate together with her being a progressive liberal. She defended the rights of the minority, she revered non-conformity, and he or she upheld pluralism.

It goes with out saying that Cil was a champion of educational freedom, which the Marcos dictatorship trampled on. She was on the forefront of the protests towards the Marcos Schooling Act, which threatened UP’s tutorial freedom. The UP neighborhood was in a position to thwart this, even when the protest meant that Cil and her tutorial colleagues clashed with their buddy O.D. Corpuz, then Marcos’s Schooling Secretary.

Furthermore, Cil fought towards the Marcos dictatorship; she fought for democracy and civil liberties. And she or he discovered a company that actually suited her: the College of the Philippines (UP) chapter of Kaakbay.

Ka Pepe Diokno — statesman, senator, nationalist, and civil libertarian — was the founder and mental fountainhead of Kaakbay. However UP Kaakbay was someway distinct even because it subscribed to Ka Pepe’s values and platform. It was extra radical, although not of the extremist selection, than Ka Pepe’s unique Kaakbay. UP Kaakbay was primarily composed of socialists led by Dodong Nemenzo, Randy David, and the late Karina David.

Cil’s closeness to Ka Pepe Diokno was evident in her being the editor of Ka Pepe’s guide titled A Nation for Our Kids (1987). This can be a quantity that accommodates articles and speeches by Ka Pepe on human rights, nationalism, and sovereignty.

It’s a guide devoted to the long run generations of Filipinos. Ka Pepe (and for that matter Cil) envisioned “one dream that each one Filipinos share: that our youngsters might have a greater life than we’ve got had.” That dream is to have a noble, proud and free nation for our youngsters. Sadly, till now, we’re removed from realizing this dream. Worse, we’re once more going by means of a nightmare harking back to what occurred through the darkish days of the Marcos regime.

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By the way, the nation will commemorate Ka Pepe’s 100th beginning anniversary on Feb. 26. That is an auspicious second for us to rekindle Ka Pepe’s (and Cil’s) dream.

Cil’s advocacy for youngsters had different manifestations. For instance, she was a trustee of the Kids’s Rehabilitation Heart (CRC). As instructed to me by CRC’s founder Beth de Castro, with out Cil’s full help, it could have been “not possible to implement our mission to supply psychological help for youngsters victims of political violence.”

Though Cil was radical and secular in her politics, she was deeply non secular. She attended morning Mass day by day. And she or he was energetic in a weekly Bible dialogue group, which she would often host at her residence on UP campus. However this Bible group was likewise progressive, for liberation theology served because the framework for dialogue. The dialogue utilized Bible teachings to social, political, and financial life. Ex-priest Ed Gerlock and Maryknoll sister Helen Graham facilitated it. The members included Nena Diokno (Ka Pepe’s spouse), Nini Quezon Avanceña, Maridol Mabanta, Isabel Ongpin, and Menchu Sarmiento. The saling-pusa (tag-alongs) included Mae and Tita Nini’s son, Ricky.

Sharing my mom-in-law’s story should embrace her function in shaping Philippine training. She was esteemed as Professor of Schooling at UP. She had quite a few important contributions within the area of training, however I spotlight her seminal work that features new which means amid our disaster.

It’s mentioned that we face an training disaster, all of the extra made pronounced by the pandemic. However the reality is, training has been in disaster for a very long time.

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Cil’s Ph.D. dissertation on the College of Pittsburgh, revealed in guide kind in 1977, continues to supply insights into our training disaster. Titled A Philippine Rural Faculty: Its Cultural Dimension, the guide is a sociological and anthropological case examine involving a barrio college and the way the problems and issues on the locality mirror the nationwide state of affairs. Right here is an instance of a examine that makes a social investigation using multi-disciplinary strategies in the direction of growing suggestions to beat bureaucratic and systemic constraints.

Then and now, primary training is affected by “issues that have an effect on the bigger society: starvation, sickness, poverty, and unemployment…. If education is to change into extra significant to the younger, academics and directors should see clearly the connection between training and society.”

In a number of methods then, Cil contributed in a grand method to vary Philippine society. The good duties stay unfinished.

That mentioned, the household and I might all the time keep in mind Cil as somebody who did “little anonymous acts of kindness and love.”


Filomeno S. Sta. Ana III coordinates the Motion for Financial Reforms.


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