By LUIS G. JALANDONI
NDFP Chief International Representative
The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) renders tribute to Rhea Whitehead, a dear friend of the Filipino people in their struggle for social justice, freedom and national liberation. The NDFP conveys its heartfelt condolences to her loving husband, Ray, their three daughters, grandchildren and other family members, relatives and numerous friends around the globe.
The political prisoners she bravely visited during the Marcos dictatorship, the numerous beneficiaries of the many projects she provided support for as General Secretary of the Division of World Outreach of the United Church of Canada, the many Filipino friends whose lives she touched and enriched, all have reason to mourn her passing away. But all of us also join her family and friends in celebrating her life full of love and caring and a passion to fight for justice and freedom for the oppressed and exploited.
Way back in 1982, she was a key figure in the establishment of strong solidarity relations between progressive Canadian and Philippine church circles and with the Philippine progressive movement as a whole. She was at the forefront of campaigns against human rights violations. She stood up for those summarily executed, the disappeared, those tortured and unjustly detained. She was a consistent advocate for social justice and a truly liberating peace.
Those of us who were privileged to get to know her felt her caring character. She made you immediately feel at home. She made you feel welcome, a friend in the common struggle for justice and freedom.
The Filipino people who carry on the struggle for national and social liberation shall hold dear the noble memory of Rhea Whitehead, dear friend of the Filipino people.