Remembering Mang Peping this December 7th


On this seventh day of December, we remember and honor Faustino “Mang Peping” Baclig, the founding Chair of the December 7th Movement (D7M). The D7M organized over 30 Filipino American WWII veterans organizations in the early 1990s with the rallying point to overturn the Rescission Act of 1946, which nullified the services of over 200,000 Filipino American veterans. Of the 66 nations who fought alongside the US in the Second World War, the Philippines was the only nation singled out, stripping Filipinos of their benefits through this legislation. Today, the organization, Justice for Filipino American Veterans (JFAV), continues the unfinished work of the D7M bringing together the surviving veterans, widows, community members, youth, students to advocate for equity and recognition of the Filipino WWII veterans.

At JFAV Veterans Day Parade in Historic Filipinotown

Mang Peping passed away earlier this year on February 27at the age of 89 years old. He was born in Cabugao, Ilocos Sur, Philippines on February 14, 1922. Mang Peping was a survivor of the Bataan Death March, a stalwart leader in the movement of the Filipino American WWII veterans, a resolute organizer for justice in the community, and an internationalist that has served as an inspiration for several generations.

 

The work of Mang Peping in the community of Southern California has inspired so many because of his indefatigable commitment to serving those in need since his involvement as a volunteer for the East West Community Partnership and a leader (first as Vice Chair and later as Chair) of the Alyansa ng Komunidad (AK, or Community Alliance) since the early 1990s. In 1993, he was a main organizer for the First Southern California Veterans Conference, which for the first time in history brought together hundreds of Filipino American WWII veterans and community leaders to initiate the political struggle of the Filipino American WWII veterans who were denied recognition, justice, and equity after having fought courageously alongside US forces in the Second World War. Shortly thereafter, Mang Peping then became the Founding Chair of the December 7th Movement (D7M).

At an Alyansa ng Komunidad (AK) meeting at Golden Agers of Los Angeles (GALA)

In 1994, Mang Peping also served as Co-Chair of the Kaisahan Laban sa Inisyatiba 187 (Unity Against Proposition 187) to defend the rights of immigrant communities. From 1997 – 2011, Mang Peping also served as a member of the Board of Directors of People’s CORE to advance the socio-economic-political empowerment of the community. Throughout his community involvement, Mang Peping was also an internationalist who stood against US interventionist policies and imperialism. He was a People’s CORE representative at the First International Assembly of the International League of People’s Struggle in the Netherlands in 2001.

 

Planning Community Projects at People's CORE

Mang Peping always believed in the power of the people to make change, to fight against discrimination, and to stand for our rights. He has awakened many youth and community members and has inspired activism anchored in community work. We will always remember Mang Peping, his generous spirit, his tireless service to the community, and the fire in his heart to defend what is right.

 

“There’s nothing free. You have to fight for your rights.

And when you have that right, you have to fight to keep it.”

- Faustino “Mang Peping” Baclig