Prof. Monico Atienza, a teacher and poet succumbed to cancer of the throat after almost a year in coma. He was 60 years old. Hundreds came to give tribute to a man they rightfully described as a true revolutionary.
BY EMILY VITAL
Vol. VII, No. 44, December 9-15, 2007
Prof. Monico Atienza, a teacher, poet and revolutionary, succumbed to cancer of the throat after almost a year in coma. He was 60 years old.
In the last tribute of friends and comrades, Nick or Ka Togs as what his colleagues at the First Quarter Storm Movement call him, was praised for devoting his youth and all of his life for the revolutionary cause.
Ed Villegas, a member of Kabataang Makabayan (KM) in the early 70s, recounted his days with Nick in prison. Villegas said Nick underwent severe physical and mental torture. “Kumpara sa akin, halimbawa, in a scale of one to ten, ten being the most severe, akin ay three lang, sa kanya ay ten.” (Compared to what I went through, in a scale of one to ten, ten being the most severe, the torture inflicted on me rated three while the torture he underwent rated ten.)
Villegas said the military believed that Nick was a high-ranking leader of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
Villegas said, “Malaki ang sakripisyo ni Nick para sa pakikibaka. Isa siyang tunay na maka-manggagawa at maka-magsasaka.” (Nick made a lot of sacrifices for the struggle. He is genuinely for the workers and peasants.)
Villegas said Nick is a modern Prometheus. Prometheus, in Greek mythology is known for his wily intelligence. Villegas said Nick used his intelligence in serving the Filipino people.
In his speech, Atty. Romy Macalintal, Nick’s classmate in high school at the Far Eastern University (FEU) said Nick was their valedictorian, class president and president of the FEU High School Student Council, batch ’64. Macalintal shared his memories of Nick. “Pareho kaming taga-Batangas. Lagi siyang may balisong, naka-custom-tailored pants at Converse shoes.” (We are both from Batangas. He always carried a locally-made knife and sported custom-tailored pants and converse shoes.)
Macalintal said Nick devoted his life to defend the poor and the oppressed.
Meanwhile, Jose Maria Sison, in a tribute read by Bomen Guillermo, described Ka Togs as a tough communist fighter, a heroic individual who has never lost sight of heroic objectives.
Sison met Nick at the University of the Philippines. Both of them were members of Student Cultural Association in UP (SCAUP) and later, they founded the KM.
Sison said Nick was diligent in studying the writings of Marx, Mao, Lenin and the experiences of other countries in waging socialist revolutions. He said Nick wanted to apply these theories in the concrete conditions of Philippine society.
Nick helped found the CPP and was a member of its central committee from 1968 until he was arrested in 1974.
A tribute sent by the Katipunan ng mga Gurong Makabayan (Kaguma or Organization of Patriotic Teachers) was read by Arnold Alamon. It read, “Hindi iilang guro at estudyante ang na-inspire sa kanyang halimbawa.” (Not a few teachers and students were inspired by his example.)
Kaguma is a member organization of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). Nick was also instrumental in the formation of Kaguma in 1971.
Kaguma’s tribute further read, “Isinapraktika niya ang pagbibigay ng edukasyong makabayan, siyentipiko at makamasa.” (He practiced education that is patriotic, scientific, and mass-oriented.)
Moreover, the Antonio Zumel Foundation, praised Nick’s simple living and persistent struggle. “Nick taught youth activists that the revolution is not a romantic engagement so as to prepare them for a long, arduous struggle.”
Boni Ilagan, chair of the FQSM, delivered a poem written by Edel Garcellano. Garcellano likened Nick to a red angel who lived the just heroic life.
The chapel of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) was too small for the many friends and comrades whose lives were touched by Nick Atienza and who came in throngs to give tribute to a true revolutionary. Bulatlat