|Friday, 26 September 2008 23:47|
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan gives tribute to former BAYAN-SMR leader Valerio “Ka Val” Mante whose death last September 22 has glinted new light to the Filipino people’s struggle for social justice, equality, genuine freedom and democracy.
Ka Val died at the age of 57 of kidney failure caused by a bacterial disease called leptospirosis.
Ka Val’s early years with the people’s movement in the 60’s were with his fellow students who had fought against the fascist regime of Ferdinand Marcos. He was an active member of Khi Rho, a youth organization that organized the Filipino peasants. Consequently, he was arrested and detained during Martial Law.
In the early 80’s, he became part of the Citizens Council for Justice and Peace until he was elected deputy secretary-general of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Southern Mindanao Region from 1994 to 1996 and secretary general from 1996 to 1998.
Ka Val was among our staunch mass leaders who stayed in the frontlines of protest rallies and big mobilizations in the region. Among his historic appearances as BAYAN’s spokesperson was in 1996 at the height of the mounting protests against the Asia Pacific Economic Conference (APEC).
Ka Val had always kept his bias and commitment for the welfare of the Filipino workers. He became a labor organizer during his later years in the mass movement. In 1998, he helped the workers of ALSON’s during their month long strike against the ALSON’s management.
Behind his strong image as a leader were his most loved simplicity and cheerfulness. His artworks as a poet, script writer, and actor had indeed influenced the development of progressive cultures. His charisma had gained him compliments from the media and was named “Darling of the Press”. His credibility was unchallenged that made him the most sought after mass leader of his time.
After some years of active participation in the urban mass movement, Ka Val’s commitment for the welfare of the workers and peasants transcended into higher forms. He decided to spend the rest of his life in the countrysides with the people he truly cared for.
Ka Val had kept his dignity as a true leader, a sincere friend, and an inspiration for all the people whose lives he had touched. He will forever remain a pride of his family and his legacy for equality will continue to move on no matter what.