By JONAS ALPASAN and REIN TARINAY
MANILA – Beloved urban poor leader Carmen Deunida passed away today, Jul 19.
Deunida, referred to as Nanay Mameng, “courageously faced the challenges confronting our society” from her days as a community leader in Leveriza, Manila during the Marcos dictatorship, said urban poor group Kadamay. She was the oldest member of then urban poor youth group Kabataan para sa Demokrasya at Nasyunalismo.
She was 93.
Nanay Mameng became a household name during the second EDSA uprising when she led the urban poor struggle against the Estrada presidency. She was also a valiant voice under presidents Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Benigno S. Aquino III, and even under the present administration.
“Her language was simple, and her voice fiery. But she was able to sharply describe the crises and struggles of the urban poor. Without a doubt, oppressors are shaken by her voice. When Nanay Mameng speaks, everyone listens,” said Kadamay.
Among Nanay Mameng’s last wishes, Kadamay said, was to oust “Dudirty” and for political prisoners to finally be free.
Below are some of Bulatlat’s reports on the life of this beloved urban poor leader and mother to many activists
Every time there is a rally, she manages to explain issues in a sharp and very clear way. It is only from Nanay Mameng that activists could hear words such as “tyanak,” “peste,” “dorobo” and “markang demonyo” but is able to maintain the militant spirit in her “colorful” speeches.
During her 84th birthday, Nanay Mameng said, “I am already old. And I am willing to give my life for our country.”
There were attempts to bribe Nanay Mameng to the tune of P1 million or around $23,000, with promises of jobs for her children and grandchildren to stop her from joining rallies. She did not accept it.
Documentaries and stage plays were also produced to honor her life and contribution to the Philippine urban poor struggle.