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Home Campaigns TRIBUTE OF THE POLITICAL PRISONERS TO MARTYRED ACTIVIST LEADER JUDE FERNANDEZ

TRIBUTE OF THE POLITICAL PRISONERS TO MARTYRED ACTIVIST LEADER JUDE FERNANDEZ

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TRIBUTE OF THE POLITICAL PRISONERS TO MARTYRED ACTIVIST LEADER JUDE FERNANDEZ

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The following is an English translation of the message of political prisoners at the Metro Manila District Jail Annex 4 in Bicutan, Taguig City in honor of slain activist leader Jude Fernandez. The message was originally written in Filipino by the political prisoners who also studied at the University of the Philippines (UP) Los Baños. The statement was read by wives of political prisoners who are members of Kapatid during the memorial program for him at the Church of the Risen Lord, UP Diliman campus on October 12, 2023 (bottom photo). 

Jude Fernandez, 66, was killed on September 29, 2023 in the house where he was staying in Binangonan, Rizal province. Operatives from the Philippine National Police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group barged into his home and shot him dead. He was unarmed contrary to police allegations that he “fought back,” a perennial pretext to justify politically motivated killings. Kapatid said he would have been the 778th political prisoner had he not been brutally killed. There have been 72 victims of labor-related killings since 2016. Four union leaders were murdered this year. The International Trade Union Confederation ranks the Philippines as one of the 10 worst countries for worker rights. Despite the avowals of Malacañang for a “thorough and impartial” investigation into his killing, not one cop has been called for investigation.

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The political prisoners pay tribute to Kasamang Jude Thaddeus Fernandez for his exemplary life of dedicated and continuous service to the working class and other oppressed sectors, and for his unrelenting advocacy of the national democratic cause with a socialist perspective for the Filipino people.

We offer our heartfelt condolences to his loved ones, his wife Kasamang Evelyn Muñoz, who is also a political prisoner in Central Luzon, and their family.

Ka Jude was born on October 27, 1957 in Pangasinan. He studied at the University of the Philippines Los Baños from 1974 to 1979 with the course of Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, Major in Sugar Technology.

He was an active member and leader of the UP Student Catholic Action (UPSCA) and the student organization for sugar technology. He also served as a leader and president of a national democratic youth organization.

He actively promoted the interests, rights and welfare of students and youth. Foremost of these, which were suppressed during martial law along with legal traditional and progressive organizations, were the restoration of a genuine, free, and democratic student council, a campus newspaper free from censorship, student representation in the UP Board of Regents and the reinstatement of Philippine History and Institutions (PHI) in the curriculum that had been removed due to neoliberal policies. He actively participated in emergent forms of political protest, including gatherings and cultural activities of students, teachers, non-academic personnel, and the people against fascist rule.

His political awakening was rapid. His deepening commitment led him to leave the university, eschewing the opportunity of a comfortable life and profession. With his exceptional talent and grasp of mass work, and together with other youths from the university, Ka Jude embraced the cause of the working class and the peasantry. He dedicated his time, skills, and intelligence to serve the people, enduring hardships and sacrifices into the next decades. 

He made notable contributions to expanding and strengthening militant and patriotic unionism and workers’ strikes in Southern Tagalog, Central Luzon, and the entire country during the Marcos dictatorship and subsequent regimes. During the period when the workers’ movement was still in its infancy in Southern Tagalog, the labor unions in the coconut industry were the first to develop, eventually expanding and gaining strength in various sectors such as garments and textiles, food and beverages, and other strategic enterprises during the time of the dictatorship.

One of his significant achievements was strengthening the Sunripe Dessicated Coconut Industry union in Magdalena, Laguna. This labor union spearheaded the development of genuine, militant, and patriotic unionism in Southern Tagalog and became a major muscle to increasing and galvanizing the number of workers participating in political actions and protests inside and outside the workplace.

A notable event was the participation of nearly a thousand workers in a rally on June 12, 1980 that shattered the white terror of martial law in Laguna. From their ranks emerged those who joined indoor activities such as symposia and forums that were elevated to organizing street protests in Laguna and various cities and centers in the region. Their organizing work produced mass activists from the ranks of workers and peasants who served as the wellspring of the struggle for genuine land reform and national industrialization in Laguna and Quezon and bolstered the peasant movement in the entire Southern Tagalog region.

He also mobilized and organized workers who became part of the formation of the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU or May First Movement) in 1980, which contributed to the expansion and strengthening of the labor movement and workers’ strikes in Southern Tagalog that led to the establishment of a regional center. His contributions were significant in Central Luzon as well.

He likewise actively mobilized and involved thousands of workers in nationally coordinated protests and strikes that broke out in 1984, 1987, 1989, and 1990, which pushed the reactionary Aquino government to grant a 10-peso wage increase in 1987 and the enactment of a 25-peso wage increase in 1989.

While continuing to organize the mass movement of workers, youth, and the urban poor, he also worked among the peasants and farm workers in Laguna and Quezon until 1997 and in Central Luzon until 2016. He was one of the top leaders and organizers of political activities and mass actions until the overthrow of the Marcos dictatorship in February 1986. 

His contributions were invaluable to the downfall of the Marcos dictatorship and the Estrada regime, and to expanding and strengthening organizational work among workers, farmers, fisherfolk, student youth, urban poor, migrants, women, government employees, the middle forces, and other sectors in the Southern Tagalog region. 

Ka Jude was a leader and organizer at the national level from the last quarter of 2016 until his murder by fascist forces. During the successive regimes of Marcos I, Aquino I, Ramos, Estrada, Macapagal-Arroyo, Aquino II, Duterte, and Marcos II, he led, joined and closely monitored numerous actions and protests.

Continuously, tirelessly, and throughout his lifetime, Ka Jude served the working class, the toiling masses, and the Filipino people. He excelled as a leader, organizer, and educator of the labor movement until he was brutally killed by the fascist US-Marcos-Duterte regime on September 29, 2023 in Binangonan, Rizal. His dedication to the proletariat, its proletarian leadership, the national democratic struggle and its socialist perspective was unswerving and his contributions are significant. 

Our highest tribute to Kasamang Jude Fernandez. We salute you!

POLITICAL PRISONERS AT MMDJ-4

CAMP BAGONG DIWA, TAGUIG CITY

Edisel Legaspi

Vicente Ladlad

Adelberto Silva

Rey Casambre

Dionisio Almonte

Ireneo Atadero

Maoj Maga

Julio Lusania

Reynante Gamara

Jude Rimando

Joel Demate

and 18 others

Wives of political prisoners who are members of Kapatid read a statement for Jude Fernandez at the Church of the Risen Lord on the UP Diliman campus on October 12, 2023. (Photo credit: Kapatid)