Champion of Workers’ Rights. Lawyer Democrito T. Mendoza, also called DTM in the Associated Labor Unions (ALU) community, was the founder of ALU and was president of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines for 36 years. Mendoza succumbed to a lingering illness last Tuesday. (Sun.Star File)
LABOR leader and founder of the Associated Labor Unions (ALU), lawyer Democrito T. Mendoza, died due to a lingering illness last Tuesday. He was 92.
Many consider him a champion of the Filipino workers’ rights, and was among those who defended the country against Japanese invaders during World War II.
He was the chairman of ALU, the biggest affiliate of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP). He was president of TUCP for 36 years.
Mendoza was also a member of the Governing Council of the Geneva-based International Labor Organization and was a founding president of the Association of South East Asian Nations Trade Union Council.
Using his influence in government to realize his dream of improving the lives of workers, he was instrumental in converting the National Arrastre and Stevedoring Corp. into Oriental Port and Allied Services Corp. (Opascor) during the time of President Corazon Aquino.
Opascor is now a successful workers’ enterprise where employees earn at least P800 a day.
A World War II veteran and a military reservist, having a rank of full colonel in the Armed Forces of the Philippines, he served as a member of the board of the Philippine Veterans Bank.
In 2008, when he was 84 years old, he launched his autobiography, “Shapes of Memory,” hoping to inspire others and believe that “little things can lead you to big events that could make history.”
He also decided to write the book detailing his life to encourage young people to face challenges and be ready to risk everything to achieve a better life.
He is survived by his wife, former Social Security System (SSS) Commissioner Marianita D. Mendoza, his 14 children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Mendoza’s remains lie in state at the JSU-PSU Mariner’s Court at the ALU Compound in Pier 1, Cebu City.
A mass will be offered daily at 8 p.m. The family has yet to announce the date of the funeral.