Press Release
July 28, 2021

PSR 776: Honoring the Life and Service of Maria Zenaida "Nini" Quezon-Avanceña

Magandang hapon, colleagues. I rise today to honor the life and service of Maria Zenaida "Nini" Quezon-Avanceña, or, as most of us knew her in Quezon City and throughout the country as "Tita Nini."

Tita Nini became a centenarian last April 9, in an online event that was characteristic of our time. I am sure, if not for the pandemic, we would have been physically gathering to celebrate 100 years of a life well-lived, fully-lived. But pandemic restrictions only allowed for us to celebrate digitally and remotely, but no less enthusiastically.

We may have lost Tita Nini last July 12, but she lives on through her legacy in various causes, for being a loving mother and grandmother to her family, and for how she influenced and touched so many lives including this representation's.

Tita Nini was the last surviving child of our beloved President Manuel L. Quezon. Honoring her family's heritage while adding her own pursuits befitting the needs of the time, Tita Nini through the decades was an advocate of human rights, social justice, and peace. She was a comrade-in-arms during the martial law years, fighting for the rights, welfare, and freedom of political prisoners during the years of the dictatorship.

As one of the founders of the Concerned Women of the Philippines in 1978, she and her "kabaros" made their stand against tyranny and published manifestos on pages of government-controlled newspapers. The organization sought to promote human dignity; preserve and protect civil liberties and human rights; defend the poor, the exploited, and the victims of injustices; and assure a legacy of justice, freedom, and peace.

Tita Nini was also a member of Kilusan sa Kapangyarihan at Karapatan ng Bayan or "Kaakbay" that advocated for human rights and the end of the dictatorship through non-violent means. Kaakbay was founded by former Senator Jose "Ka Pepe" Diokno.

After the 1986 EDSA Revolution, Tita Nini was appointed to the Presidential Committee on Human Rights alongside Senators Ka Pepe Diokno and Lorenzo Tañada. As a student activist during EDSA, I looked up to them as role models in standing up against injustices and defending human rights.

That is why it meant a whole lot to me when Tita Nini actively supported my congressional electoral campaign in 1992 in the city that was named after her father. At the age of 71 then, she even volunteered and went to personally distribute my leaflets to the communities in our district. Tita Nini was my constituent --a distinguished constituent of the beloved city of Quezon. As an aspiring public servant then, it gave me the boost I needed in campaigning. Unfortunately, we did not make it that time around. But for all the campaigns and elections thereafter, I am always reminded of her spirited, committed, dedicated support.

As a private citizen, Tita Nini continued to champion various causes and actively called out social inequalities and injustices. She showed deep love of country, a firm sense of duty, and an unwavering faith in the heart of the Filipinos.

We return this faith with gratitude for her service. Carrying her legacy in her stead, we continue to fight for human rights, social justice, and peace.

It is in this spirit that we move for the passing of Proposed Senate Resolution 776 "Honoring the Life and Service of Maria Zenaida "Nini" Quezon-Avanceña and Expressing the Profound Sympathy and Sincere Condolences of the Senate on her Passing."

And as earlier manifested, I thank my colleagues for agreeing to co-author this measure.

Thank you very much and magandang hapon sa kanilang lahat.

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