Dear friends and comrades,
It is with great sadness and grief that we inform you of the death of Comrade Wilson “Ka Wilson” Baldonaza, Secretary General of KMU, at 2:15am on July 1, 2009. He was 57. He is survived by his wife, Lily.
Since June 6, 2009, he has been confined at the Acute Stroke Unit of the Manila Central University Hospital after suffering a second stroke arising from high-blood and complications from heart, lungs, liver and kidney problems. Since then, he has been sustained by a respirator.
Ka Wilson started his political involvement as a member of a militant youth organization prior to the declaration of Martial Law in 1972. He later worked as a security guard at the Manila Domestic Airport and then at the Mabuhay Textile Mills as quality control personnel. In 1985, he became vice-president and subsequently president of the workers union at Mabuhay Textile Mills in 1985 and led successful strikes for workers’ rights. He then served as secretary-general of the Valenzuela chapter of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN), the umbrella organization of nationalist organizations, from 1987 to 1990.
In the years that followed, he became an educator and a project evaluator at the Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (EILER). In 2000, he decided to go back to full-time work in organizing workers’ unions under the Alliance of Nationalist and Genuine Labor Organizations (ANGLO), a KMU federation, and was elected as its president in 2002.
He was elected Secretary General of KMU at its 9th Congress in 2007. His life is an exemplary example of dedication and commitment to serving the working class and people. Up to his death, he carried the Filipino people and the working class worldwide in his heart.
We celebrate a life lived to the fullest, even as we mourn his demise. He will be forever etched in the hearts of the Filipino masses and all those whom he pledged to serve up to his last breath.
His remains temporarily lie at the Ambassador Funeral Homes in Mabini St., C-3, Caloocan City. He will be transferred July 2, 2009 at another place to accommodate the many friends and comrades who want to pay their last respect. Ka Wilson is set to be buried on July 5. Details will be announced later. (Please check www.kilusangmayouno.org for updates)
Tribute as follows:
July 2 - ANGLO-KMU
July 3 - BAYAN
July 4 – KMU and Anakpawis Party List
For those who may wish to send messages of sympathy, please send them to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. Your messages will be be read at the KMU tribute on July 4. It will also be compiled and given to Ka Wilson’s family. (Please find attached Ka Wilson’s biography for your reference).
For those who wish to send donations, you can still do so thru the following methods:
a) thru bank (in US$ account)
Account Holder: Ma. Teresa Dioquino and Norma Binas
Account Number: 0274-0768-52
Name of Bank: Bank of the Philippine Islands
Address: Timog Branch, Quezon City, Philippines
IBAN: BOPI PHMM
b) thru Western Union, Xoom payment and door-to-door delivery
MA. TERESA DIOQUINO or PRISCILLA ANG-MANIQUIZ
63 Narra St. Proj. 3 Quezon City, Philippines
Telephone Number: (632) 4210986
Once again, thank you for your sympathy and solidarity.
Ka Wilson is dead! Long live Ka Wilson!
Long live the struggle for national and social liberation!
KMU International Department
Biography: KA WILSON BALDONAZA
Wilson Fronda Baldonaza was born on August 26, 1953 in Victoria, Tarlac. He was the second of five children by Mr. Lino Baldonaza and Mrs. Francesca Fronda (both deceased). He studied at Victoria Elementary School, and at Victoria High School where he graduated with honors in 1970.
After high school, he went to Manila to pursue his college studies. He enrolled at the University of the East (UE) and took up Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering (BSCE). But he was not able to finish his college degree due to poverty.
As early as college, he already got involved in activism. He became a member of the Samahan ng Demokratikong Kabataan (SDK). It was the height of student activism and struggle against the dictatorship of Marcos that time. When Marcos declared Martial Law on Sept. 21, 1972, all schools in Manila were virtually closed. All organizations were also banned. Ka Wilson decided to go back to the province and helped organize the community youth in their place.
When the political situation regained some signs of “normalcy” in 1975, he went back to Manila to look for a job so he can pursue his schooling. He first became a worker when he got a job as a security guard at the Manila Domestic Airport.
But this job did not last long. He applied in Mabuhay Textile Mills in Valenzuela, Metro Manila in 1977 and was admitted as Quality Control. While working, he enrolled again in UE. However, the pressure of time between job and school had taken its toll on his health. So, he has to give up his schooling after a year and continued with his work.
In 1980, the workers in Mabuhay Textile formed their union and Ka Wilson became a member. Ka Wilson was active in the union, taking up trade union courses, engaging in political and economic discourse, participating in protest actions and strikes.
Union leader and labor educator
At the height of the Marcos dictatorship in the 80’s, the union experinced greater harassments. Their union presidentwas forced to resign and to go underground. The vice president took over and Ka Wilson was elected as vice president in 1985. However, the new president was recruited ofr full-time work in their labor federation. Ka Wilson took over as the new union president.
In 1986, the union, under the administration and guidance of Ka Wilson, went on strike over the management’s violations of their collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The strike went on for six months. In the picketline, Wilson experienced all sorts of intimidation and harassment from the police and the management. Almost monthly, the management through the local police attempted to break the picketline. But the workers stood their ground.
When the strike was settled, Wilson decided to go full-time in union organizing in the area. In 1987, because of his experiences in the union, he was elected Secretary General of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN, New Patriotic Alliance) – Valenzuela chapter. BAYAN is the umbrella group of national democratic organizations in the Philippines. He remained Secretary General up to 1990.
Ka Wilson applied for a job at the Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (EILER) in 1991. He became an educator for Genuine Trade Unionism and other courses and later became a Project Evaluator of the institution’s Daop-Palad project until 1997. He stayed in EILER for nine years.
In 2000, he decided to go full-time trade union organizer again, this time in Kilusang Mayo Uno. He worked as an organizer in ANGLO, a member-federation of KMU. During that time, ANGLO was experiencing corruption problems committed by some incorrigible elements in the federation’s leadership. Wilson led a group of trade unionists and leaders to fight against these labor aristocrat and corrupt leaders. They succeeded in ousting them from the federation. Eventually, due to his sincerity in serving the interest of the workers, he was elected president of ANGLO-KMU in 2002 and holds the post until at present.
National and international proletarian leadership
Because of his good record in the trade union movement, he was elected Secretary General of KMU during its 9th National Congress in April 2007. He led the workers’ fight on a national scope, overseed different departments of the national labor center, and helped in the expansion and consolidation of KMU unions and federations.
As a labor leader, Ka Wilson was keen to the details of his work – in planning and substantiating data for his speeches, for example. He vigorously carried out his tasks in the labor movement, a reason for him to be called a “workaholic” by his comrades and friends. He did not let his health problems prevent him from serving the workers and people’s interests.
Ka Wilson also studied and taught progressive ideas diligently. Many of his comrades remember him as the person who is always updated on the latest events around the globe. He visited Australia and Europe once in an effort to explain the situation of workers and workers’ movement in the Philippines, particularly under the US-Arroyo regime.
During his last years, Ka Wilson was one of those who initiated a comprehensive analysis of the state-sponsored attacks against the labor movement in the country. Many comrades admired his optimism for the workers’ struggle in the future. Even if the labor movement suffers from serious attacks, Ka Wilson believes that it will triumph in liberating the workers and people from oppression.