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The Building and Wood Workers International joined the Philippine Trade Union Movement in mourning for the demise of a fearless labour leader, Attorney Demokrito “Kito” Mendoza. He passed away 6:40pm on Tuesday, 12th January at the Chong Hua Hospital in Cebu City, Philippines at the age of 92.
Kito was the Chairperson of the Associated Labour Union (ALU), one of the BWI Philippine Affiliates, and co-founder, former long-time President of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP). Born in 31st July 1923 in Liloan, Cebu, Kito is one of the founding pillars of the labour movement in the country, devoting sevety (70) years of his life in pursuit of his dream of ensuring the Filipino workers of decent jobs.
“Don’t give in. Keep figthing” were the last messages he left to TUCP members while fighting for his life, an indication of his concerns to the plight of workers, according to Alan Tanjusay, TUCP spokesperson. For his lifelong and invaluable contributions in shaping and advancing the Philippine labour movement and for tirelessly working to defend and uphold the interest of the Filipino working class, Kito was given congressional recognition by the House of Representatives on June 2015 (House of Representatives Resolution 1051).
Rising to the call of his time as President of TUCP in 1978, he pushed for the reduction of decent jobs deficits as a key to improving work and life of workers, not only at the national level but also at the international arena. As member of the Governing Council of the International Labour Conference (ILC) , he demonstrated his unwavering advocacy through his constant promotion of the ILO Core Labour Standards. He also battled for technical support from the ILO to encourage workers’ enterprises and develop skills for promoting sustainable development during the 80th Sessiong of the ILC in 1993 when massive contractualisation and displacement of workers were wreaking havoc in the Philippines due to the liberalisation of tariffs, ridiculous exchange rates and massive privatisation.
With his historic and significant contributions to the development of the labor movement in the Philippines, Mendoza was voted “Labor Leader of the Year” by the Cebu News Correspondence Club in 1961; by the Cebu Press Club in 1964; and by the School of Labor and Industrial Relations of the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City (UP SOLAIR) with the Iglesia Filipina Independiente in 1998 in celebration of the centennial year of the labor movement in the Philippines;
He is survived by his second wife Dr. Marianita Mendoza, fourteen children & grandchildren.
The BWI, together with the Philippine Trade Union Movement, owes Attorney Demokrito “Kito” Mendoza a debt of gratitude for dedicating his life to fight for workers’ rights and welfare and for serving the voice of workers throughout the years.