Dear LUMPIA Lovers,
At the age of 89, Faustino “Peping” Baclig passed away last Sunday, February 27. I've been
trying to find the right words to write about his passing, but nothing I write can do justice
to the many contributions and inspiring legacy he left behind...
I had the honor of directing Mang Peping in two projects, the 2004 Black Eyed Peas music
video THE APL SONG and the 2007 FULL EQUITY NOW Public Service Announcement. Long before he
stepped into my set, he was already a community icon, being the face of the WWII Veteran
movement in Southern California. He fought in World War II and survived the infamous Bataan
death march. He recounts that experience in a standout scene acting in Rod Pulido's debut film
THE FLIP SIDE. Back in college, I first saw Mang Peping at a veteran-themed Pilipino Culture Night
when he took the stage. Then I would see him at various community events, veteran rallies, and in
powerful pictures showing him and his fellow veterans chained to the White House fence in protest.
So when I finally got to meet him in person for the first time on the set of THE APL SONG, I became
star-struck. In a set filled with music celebrities and egos, it was Mang Peping that had me
feeling like a huge Justin Bieber fan.
A few years later, I found myself driving Mang Peping to San Diego for a WWII Veterans event. I was
intimidated. What would I talk about for 2 hours on the road with this icon I admired? I feared the
generation gap between us would make it awkward to talk about anything. However, that drive to San Diego
and back proved to be an unforgettable experience with one of the funniest and most engaging conversations
I've had. I was impressed of how accurate his memory was, as if he lived out his war years just a few days
ago. It was the casual dialogue not related to the veterans movement that I had the most fun with, and that
kept me awake and laughing during that late night drive back to Los Angeles.
Driving him home made me realize how long of a commute Mang Peping made to his office in FASGI in Historic
Filipino Town in Los Angeles. Here was a man who survived World War II and yet at his age, still had this
energy and relentless drive. That spoke volumes to me... and I remember that every day when I complain I
need coffee to get through the day.
Mang Peping and I would reconnect again for a PSA I created for the NATIONAL ALLIANCE
FOR FILIPINO VETERANS EQUITY. And again, I would eagerly drive him home.
It's always hard to say goodbye. The total moments I spent with Mang Peping don't even amount to a full day,
but those hours are some of the most precious and inspiring times of my young life. I miss you, Mang Peping.
Your fight and your legacy lives on...
<From Joe Navidad, executive director of the People's CORE (Community Organizing for Reform and Empowerment)>
Faustino “Peping” Baclig, a pillar in the veterans rights movement in Los Angeles and a hero who fought in World War II and survivor of the Bataan march died last February 27 at the age of 89. He was born in Cabugao, Ilocos Sur, Philippines on February 14, 1922. Mang Peping was 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) and pursued to organize over 30 Filipino American WWII veterans organizations. The rallying point of D7M was 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.
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 API 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 (ILPS) founded in the Netherlands in 2001.
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
He is survived by his wife, Francisca Antonia Baclig; daughter, Frecie Baclig Ravago and son-in-law Albert Ravago; son, Filomin Baclig and daughter-in-law, Edith Hernandez Baclig; granddaughter, Pia Francesca Ravisich and grandson-in-law Jeremy Ravisich; grandson, J.R. Penalosa; grandson, Filomin Baclig Jr; great granddaughters, Isla Francesca and Nova Helena.