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MANILA, Philippines – Poet, essayist, and activist Mila Aguilar died on Friday, October 13 at the age of 74, her son Doy Roque announced on social media on Saturday, October 14.
Aguilar “worked tirelessly for God and Country for many decades, in the face of marginalization, imprisonment, and even death,” Roque wrote. “She met many like-minded people in her journeys. People who helped her stay the path despite the many challenges she, and many like her, have had to face.”
She joined the National Democratic movement in 1971 and went underground for 13 years, writing poetry and essays under the nom de guerre Clarita Roja. Among Aguilar’s positions in the movement were chairperson of the Regional United Front Commission of Mindanao and head of the National United Front Commission of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
An outspoken critic of the Marcos dictatorship, Aguilar was arrested without a warrant in August 1984. Her prison poetry was published in the collection Why Cage Pigeons? by the Free Mila D. Aguilar Committee. She gained her freedom in 1986.
Aguilar is said to have written about 400 poems in English, Filipino, and Ilonggo throughout her career. Her other poetry collections include A Comrade is as Precious as a Rice Seedling and Journey: An Autobiography in Verse.
She taught at the University of the Philippines Diliman, her alma mater, and was also a video documentarist and web designer.
Her inurnment is at 1135 Marilag St., UP Village, Diliman, Quezon City. – Rappler.com