Julie and I admire Judy Taguiwalo for all her outstanding attributes and achievements. But we admire most her revolutionary sense of service to the Filipino people and her firm commitment and significant contributions to their struggle for national and social liberation.

Born of parents who were educators, Judy has always recognized the high value of formal education. At the same time, she has always sought to learn from the social realities outside of the classroom and to act in concert with the people to change conditions that exploit and oppress them.

DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo speaks at a workers rally on May 1, 2017, Labor Day at the Liwasang Bonifacio. Photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler

Thus, she joined the national democratic movement and subsequently co-founded in 1970 the Malayang Kilusan ng Kababaihan (MAKIBAKA) in order to uphold gender equality and the role of women in revolutionary change. She combined well her academic studies with her social activism as she finished the degree of Bachelor of Science in Social Work with honors at the University of the Philippines in Diliman.
She was inspired by the revolutionary youth movement and participated in campaigns to learn from the masses. She seriously took the calls of the First Quarter Storm of 1970: Makibaka, Huwag Matakot! Ibagsak ang imperyalismo, pyudalismo at burukrata kapitalismo! Digmang bayan ang sagot sa batas militar! She understood that the semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system can be done away with only by the people’s democratic revolution through protracted people’s war.

She was not afraid of the threats of martial rule. Neither was she afraid of sacrifice or death. And thus she joined the armed revolutionary movement to fight the Marcos fascist dictatorship. She participated in organizing the regional organization of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army in Western Visayas. Here she excelled at leading the Organization Department of the CPP.  

She was captured in 1973, subjected to physical and mental torture and detained until she escaped from prison in 1974. She remained resolute and militant. She was integrated in the Ilocos-Montañosa-Pangasinan regional organization of the CPP and then went up to the Cordillera and stayed there from 1975 onward.  

I had the good fortune of personally meeting Ka Judy in 1975 in San Miguel, Bulacan. I vividly remembered how she expressed enthusiasm over the new guide to social investigation and class analysis at the level of rural communities, which I had just drafted and which was circulating in the various regions.

When Julie and I were arrested in November 1977, we were confident that cadres like Ka Judy would persevere and advance the revolutionary struggle. Many other comrades who worked with her can testify on how well she carried out her tasks. While I was in prison, she was captured for the second time and was detained until Marcos was overthrown in 1986.

It was while I was visiting the apartment of the family of Bernabe Buscayno soon after my release from prison that I would meet Ka Judy again in a nearby apartment. We had a happy reunion. We were jubilant over the downfall of the Marcos fascist dictatorship. From then on, Julie and I could monitor how she excelled as a leader of the women’s movement, educator, writer, organizer and administrator.

Ka Judy went back to UP Diliman in order to teach as a professor in the College of Social Work and Community Development’s Department of Women and Development Studies . She became well-known for training her students well in social investigation and mass work. She developed further professionally She took her Master of Arts in Public Administration in 1992 from Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and then finished her doctorate degree in Philippine Studies from UP Diliman.

Ka Judy chaired the IBON Research Foundation. She led the University for Women’s and Gender Studies. She was Founding National President of the All UP Academic Employee Union and a founder of All UP Workers’ Alliance. She served as Director of the UP Center for Women’s Studies. She became a member of the UP Board of Regents from 2009-2010 representing the faculty.

Photo: JonB

She has won the highest awards that her UP colleagues and co-alumni can give. She is a recipient of the 2009 Distinguished Alumni Award in Gender Equality/Women Empowerment, the 2010 CSWCD Outstanding Alumna Award, as well as the 2009 “Gawad Pagpupugay”. Take note of her recognition as an outstanding leader of women and academic and non-academic employees.

Recognized as a social worker, social activist and educator, she was appointed Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Community Development upon the recommendation of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines in 2016. 

Photo: news.abs-cbn.com

But the following year, her appointment was not confirmed by the Commission on Appointments because she refused to let her department be used as a vehicle for pork barrel by the corrupt members of Congress. After a year in office, the Duterte regime was exposing its brutal and corrupt character.

Ka Judy has lived a fruitful life of high initiative, creativity and struggle in seven decades. It is a colorful revolutionary epic that is inspiring to the current and future generations. We suggest that she write her memoirs during reflective moments between the public events that she engages. We are confident that she will find comfort and further fulfillment in sharing her experiences and wisdom.

Knowing how small and weak was the national democratic movement in the 1960s, we are gratified that it has become so much bigger and stronger. The last fifty years of struggle have laid the ground for the revolutionary forces and the people to prevail over the current challenges and to bring about a new and better system of full national independence, genuine democracy, social justice, all-round development, international solidarity and peace.

Mabuhay ka Ka Judy!
Mabuhay ang rebolusyong Pilipino!
Mabuhay ang sambayanang Pilipino!

Jose Maria Sison
Prof. Jose Maria Sison is a Filipino patriot, a proletarian revolutionary and internationalist. He is a Filipino statesman, known for his experience in and knowledge of the people's democratic government and revolutionary forces in the Philippines. He is sometimes consulted by high officials of foreign governments and by presidents, senators, congressmen and local officials of the Philippine reactionary government concerning peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and related matters.