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We Honor and Cherish the Memory
of Aloysius "Ochie" Baes: A Scientist for the People

By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
International League of Peoples' Struggle
23 December 2006

We in the International League of Peoples' Struggle (ILPS) are deeply saddened by the sudden demise of our beloved colleague Aloysius "Ochie" Baes, who died of heart failure on December 21, 2006 in the Philippines. We extend our most heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.

Ochie Baes was a member of the delegation of AGHAM (an organization of progressive Filipino scientists) that participated in the Founding Assembly of the ILPS in May 2001. He was one of the convenors of the Workshop on Concern 12 of the ILPS: Science and Technology for the people, environmental protection and the right to healthy food and water.

We honor Ochie Baes for his selfless service to the Filipino people. From the time that he was a student activist in the sixties, he was resolutely committed to the Filipino people's struggle for national liberation and democracy. He was brilliant as a student, as a chemistry professor, as a scientist, as a writer and as a music composer. He dedicated all his capabilities to the revolutionary cause of the people.

After martial law was declared in 1972, he gave up his teaching position at the University of the Philippines in Los Baņos in order to go underground and fight the Marcos fascist dictatorship. He was arrested and detained for his revolutionary activities. He and his fellow detainees turned prison into a music factory for the revolution. Their songs inspired the political detainees and the people outside the walls. To this day, the people still sing their songs.

After his release from prison, Ochie resumed teaching at the university. Subsequently, he went to the US where he acquired his Ph.D. and continued to work for the Filipino people's struggle. He also went later to Japan where he worked in a university. At the same time, he worked among compatriots and the host people to gather support for the struggle in the Philippines.

When he came back to the Philippines he devoted much of his time and energy in the Filipino people's struggle for national freedom and democracy, especially in the arena of his expertise, science and technology. Together with other progressive Filipino scientists, he founded AGHAM to serve as an instrument in organizing and mobilizing scientists for the people's struggle.

According to his AGHAM colleagues, he was key in defining the five concerns on which Filipino scientists ought to focus in order to make science and technology serve the people: the environment, public utilities, food security and self-sufficiency, scientific and mass culture and national industrialization. He pointed out that the people themselves are the primary advocates of science and technology for the common good.

He became the chairman of the board of directors of the Center for Environmental Concerns Philippines. He was very much involved in fighting for the people's interests in such cases as the toxic wastes left by US military forces in Clark Air Base, the Marinduque pollution and mining spill, the Rapu-Rapu mining issue and the oil spill in the vicinity of Guimaras.

He was truly a scientist for the people. His example is worthy of emulation by other scientists who wish to serve the people. His memory will always be with us and continue to inspire us in advancing the struggle for a new and better world for the Filipino people and humankind. ###

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