We of the Negotiating Panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), including its consultants, general counsel and staff, extend our deepest condolences to the family and children of Susan Fernandez on her death after a long battle with cancer.
We commend and honor Susan Fernandez for her significant contributions as artist, teacher and feminist to the people’s struggle against the Marcos martial law regime and after. Her rendition of the song Kalayaan in meetings and rallies against the regime became so popular that it practically formed part, together with Bayan Ko, of the repertoire of songs of activists.
Susan was the lead female singer in the two volumes of cassette tapes of songs from prison published by the Philippine Resource Center in cooperation with the then Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP). She would also be remembered by her overseas compatriots for her patriotic concerts in the different countries of Asia and Europe.
She was for a time the editor of the Political Detainees Update, a publication devoted to the situation and struggles of political prisoners under the Marcos dictatorship and, in such capacity, was a frequent visitor in Bicutan and Muntinlupa, extending her moral support to them.
Susan was a consistent activist for national freedom and democracy since her college days in UP Manila and UP Diliman as an active member of the Student Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy (STAND) and the Alliance of Social Science Organizations (ASSO). As a teacher in St. Scholastica’s College, she even required her students to visit political prisoners as part of their field work.
Her recorded rendition of Ani Montano’s song, Babae Ka, helped bring the women’s issue in the forefront of the anti-dictatorship struggle. She became a founding member of Kalayaan, a women’s organization after martial law. Susan displayed true feminist courage in raising her children as a single-parent. Even while battling cancer, she never refused any invitation to sing in indoor and outdoor meetings and cultural performances as long as her strength permitted.
Susan Fernandez did not live a long life but her involvement in and contributions to the people’s struggle prove that it was a life well-lived and full of significance.
NDFP Negotiating Panel:
Luis G. Jalandoni, Chairperson
Fidel V. Agcaoili, Member
Julie de Lima, Member
Coni Ledesma, Member
Asterio Palima, Member
NDFP Chief Political Consultant:
Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Atty. Romeo T. Capulong
NDFP Panel Secretariat:
Ruth de Leon