NDFP salutes Dr. Aloysius “Ochie” Baes who served the people to his very last breath

By LUIS G. JALANDONI
Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel
Member, NDFP National Executive Committee

He was dying. His heart was functioning at only 15% capacity. His legs were swollen. He had difficulty in breathing. Yet he spoke to his visitor, a comrade and friend, about what he and his colleagues and the people at Rapu-Rapu Island did to oppose the Lafayette Mining Company and what still had to be done. This was just two days before he died of heart failure on December 21, 2006. Aloysius “Ochie” Baes, we can truly say, served the people to his very last breath.

By LUIS G. JALANDONI
Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel
Member, NDFP National Executive Committee

He was dying. His heart was functioning at only 15% capacity. His legs were swollen. He had difficulty in breathing. Yet he spoke to his visitor, a comrade and friend, about what he and his colleagues and the people at Rapu-Rapu Island did to oppose the Lafayette Mining Company and what still had to be done. This was just two days before he died of heart failure on December 21, 2006.

Aloysius “Ochie” Baes, we can truly say, served the people to his very last breath.

This undying commitment exemplified his whole life as a scientist for the people and a militant fighter for the environment.

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines mourns the death of Dr. Aloysius “Ochie” Baes, militant environmentalist and scientist of the people. He is a hero of the people who served the people to his very last breath. The NDFP conveys its heartfelt condolences to his family, his friends and colleagues, and all the people whose lives he touched and inspired.

He helped found and guide various environmental and science and technology organizations that continue to carry forward the principles and commitment he made flesh and concrete in his life. As a professor, he instilled in his students the spirit of serving the people and developing their scientific skills to promote and advance the people’s cause.

His great contributions to the people’s struggle for national and social liberation will not be forgotten. They serve as an inspiring legacy that calls for further collective action.

Among his outstanding contributions, as well brought out by his colleagues, is the national campaign against the US military toxic wastes in Subic Naval Base and Clark Air Base which exposed the link between the rising incidence of cancer among the local community to the toxic wastes irresponsibly left behind by the US; the exposé of the environmental disasters caused by Marcopper and Placer Dome mining companies in Marinduque; the call to investigate the landslide tragedy in Southern Leyte and forecast other danger areas, which would have prevented or lessened the destruction of landslides in Quezon, Aurora, St. Bernard and most recently in Albay and other neighboring provinces; and last but not least, the exposé of the environmental destruction caused by Lafayette Mining Company in Rapu Rapu island.

As member of the Rapu Rapu Fact Finding Commission, Ochie used his scientific expertise to help the commission expose the negative consequences and flaws of this controversial polymetallic flagship mining project of the Arroyo government. The commission’s recommendations for the termination of the Lafayette Mining project and for the revocation of the Mining Act of 1995 have been rejected by the Arroyo government, which gave the go-signal for Lafayette to continue its destructive mining operations. What the people of Rapu Rapu and those who support them have to do, this was among Ochie’s major concerns two days before he died.

We honor the noble memory of Dr. Aloysius “Ochie” Baes and firm up our resolve to continue his struggle for the environment and for the national and social liberation of the Filipino people.

 

On behalf of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines:

LUIS G. JALANDONI
Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel
Member, NDFP National Executive Committee
 

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