The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) pays tribute to Dr. Edberto Villegas, former professor of the University of the Philippines and De La Salle University, who died last September 7 after suffering a stroke. He was 80 years old. The Party condoles with his family and colleagues.
With Dr. Villegas’ passing, the Filipino people lost one of the country’s most fervent patriots, anti-imperialism champions and revolutionary intellectuals.
He was among the founding members of the patriotic youth organization Kabataang Makabayan in 1964. He was twice detained under the US-Marcos dictatorship and suffered severe torture in the hands of the fascists.
For more than five decades, he devoted his life to advancing the people’s cause for national and social liberation. He has been one of the most vocal opponent of neoliberal economic policies who criticized the policies and programs of World Bank-trained technocrats which perpetuated the country’s backward economic state and debt and import dependence.
As part of the academic community, Dr. Villegas was also a militant leader of the democratic cause of teachers. He marched for wage increases for teachers and higher state budget for public schools and opposed the corporatization of the public school system.
Dr. Villegas will always be remembered by the Filipino people as a militant revolutionary intellectual. He authored several books which exposed the different facets of imperialist oppression and exploitation.
For many years, he served as resource person for the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in peace negotiations with the Philippine government. He contributed valuable insights which helped the NDFP develop and expound its proposals for comprehensive social and economic reforms with national industrialization and genuine land reform as centerpiece policies.
He was an ardent student of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. He assiduously applied Marxist political economy to analyze and criticize the social and economic conditions in the country. He is known to have painstakingly studied Marx’s Das Kapital and was well appreciated for his efforts to teach Marxist political economy to students and workers.
He contributed a number of Marxist scholarly work to the discourse on the Philippine mode of production and tirelessly studied and expounded on the semicolonial and semifeudal system in the country. He exposed the big bourgeois compradors, the big hacienderos and the corrupt bureaucrat capitalists for their parasitism and oppression and exploitation of workers and peasants and subservience to US imperialism.
Dr. Villegas was always proud of being a grandson of Gen. Miguel Malvar who took over leadership of the Filipino revolutionary forces and was among those who fought valiantly against American colonial forces during the US war of occupation at the turn of the 20th century.
Having served the cause of the people’s national and social liberation, indeed, Dr. Villegas himself will now be remembered as a hero of the Filipino people. His lifelong intellectual and practical dedication to anti-imperialism and socialism is worthy of emulation.