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Erin: Living up to the Tañada legacy


Young Cebuano bloggers pose with Deputy Speaker Erin Tañada during his visit in Cebu last September 23 and 24, 2010 upon the invitation of the USC Stand Foundation. PRworks organized the press conference with Erin for the USC Stand Foundation .

Would the son of a senator who led the movement to oust the American military bases in the early 90s and the grandson of the “grand old man” of the parliament of the streets during the dark years of the Marcos dictatorship live up to the Tañada legacy?

Perhaps. But Senator Wigberto “Bobby” Tañada and Sen. Lorenzo “Ka Tanny” Tañada are difficult acts to follow for Deputy Speaker Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada III.

Those who lived through martial law cannot forget the defiant image of Ka Tanny being hauled off to jail after the 1978 Batasan elections or being tear-gassed years later when he led anti-Marcos demonstrations after the assassination of Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr.

Ka Bobby, on the other hand, defied the conventional notion supported by even then President Cory Aquino and pro-American advocate Richard Gordon that the American military bases were good for the Philippines. And Ka Bobby proved his position to be correct as history showed us that the former American military bases today became actually engines of economic growth for the country.

Former anti-Marcos dictatorship student leaders recently had a closer look at the heir of the Tañada legacy and saw that he has the makings of surpassing the achievements of his father and grandfather.

Amid great odds, Erin Tañada has quietly pushed his transparency and good governance advocacy. This has gained the support of the USC STAND Alumni Foundation.

“We are for clean government. We have decided to play the role of a watchdog,” said Atty. Edmund Lao, president of the USC STAND Alumni Foundation. “We found the advocacy of Tañada, who is a former student leader like us, worthy of support.”

Lao and his group that includes newly appointed DOTC Undersecretary Aristotle Batuhan, Danao City Councilor John Cane, Mactan-Cebu International Airport board member and contractor Pericles Dakay, business consultant Noel Tabasa, and OPASCOR’s Tomas Riveral.

They invited Tañada to speak before a series of forums in local schools about the need for reforms and how to achieve it. The activities is part of the 28th anniversary of the Student Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy (Stand), a student party in the University of San Carlos that led boycotts and marches during the Marcos dictatorship.

Lao pointed out that Tañada, known within student activist circles as Erin, has not lost the idealism and zeal for change when he first emerged to national prominence as president of the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) in 1987.

A Liberal Party stalwart and staunch supporter of President Benigno Aquino III, Tañada has vowed to pursue the campaign to stamp out corruption. Now on this third term at the Lower House, Tañada has a string of laws on human rights, environment and other social concerns that he helped formulate and pass.

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