By Nuel M. Bacarra
Progressive groups, church and lay people remembered Fr. Jose Pacturayan Dizon, known to his comrade and friends as Fr. Joe D, on his 10th death anniversary last Saturday, November 4. A Mass was offered, officiated by Msgr. Manuel Gabriel, followed by tributes at the Christ the King Seminary in Quezon City.
Speakers from different churches and leaders of organizations shared anecdotes about the late Roman Catholic priest, known in his lifetime as the “Chaplain of the Parliament of the Streets.” They said they remember Fr. JoeD for his cheerfulness.
They called him a priest with deep passion for justice and love for the poor, especially the workers. Dizon founded a mission for workers at the Cavite Export Processing Zone where he focused his ministry until his last breath. Dizon died at the age of 65 on November 4, 2013 due to illness.
He was also one of the staunchest critics of government corruption, leading such campaigns as the Abolish Pork Movement and Kontra Daya, among many others.
National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) acting general secretary Minnie Anne Calub said: “Hindi ko malilimutan ang pagse-setup ng unang Kontra Daya Monitoring Center sa NCCP Ecumenical Center. Bagama’t nakakapagod ang ilang araw na pagbabantay, pero dahil sa kanyang sigasig, sa kanyang paninindigan sa adhikain ng Kontra Daya, mahihiya kang magpahinga. (What I cannot forget was the setting up of the first Kontra Daya Monitoring Center at the NCCP Ecumenical Center…While days of monitoring were exhausting, because of his passion, in his stand to the cause of Kontra Daya, one would be ashamed to take a rest.)
“There are many stories I can share about NCCP’s works with Fr. Joe. Suffice it to say that the best way to honor Fr. Foe is to continue his legacy, to continue his work and ministry for social justice. Pagpupugay! (salute) to Fr. Joe!” Calub added.
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) chairperson emerita Dr. Carol P. Araullo, read the tribute of the late Prof. Jose Ma. Sison written a day after Dizon’s death, a portion of which reads: “He was a consistent critic of the anti-people, anti-national and anti-democratic character of the semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system and the chain of corrupt and brutal regimes. In every way possible, he fought for the people’s rights and interests. He was active in the poll watchdog Kontra Daya and opposed the automated programmed cheating in the elections of 2010 and 2013.”
Professor Sison said that Fr. Joe D was a purveyor of advancing the social justice agenda of the Catholic Church and stood for the preferential option of the church for the poor. He was also a prime mover in the people’s campaign against the continuing corruption and repression under the Aquino regime.
Professor Sison added: “Fr. Jose P. Dizon served the people without any reservation and to his last breath. He sought to align the Church with the demands of the Filipino people for national and social liberation. He shall always be remembered as a patriot and revolutionary. And the people shall always honor him.”
Church-based cultural group Haranang Bayan offered songs for the late priest.
Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) chairman Danilo “Ka Daning” Ramos paid tribute by reciting his poem “Dakilang Lingkod Bayan” for Dizon that he wrote on the spot. Ramos’ poem in part reads:
“Kilos protesta sa lansangan upang madinig ating karapatan/Lupa… Sahod…Trabaho… Karapatan
at Kalayaan ng Inang Bayan./Di mo alintana ang hirap at sakripisyo/Ginugol ang talino, kakayahan at buong buhay/Para sa masang inaapi at pinagsasamantalahan,/Para sa amin… Martir ka ngmagbubukid
At bayani ng sambayanan!”
(Street protests to echo our rights/Land…wage…jobs… rights/and Freedom to the Motherland./You never thought of hardships and sacrifices/You dedicated your wisdom, strength and your whole life/For the oppressed and exploited,/For us peasants… You’re a martyr/And hero of the people! #