Sen. Leila De Lima Joins BBS

Incarcerated and Opposition Senator Leila De Lima has found time to write a book for the Ateneo de Naga University Press’ Bikolnon Biography Series or what is popularly known as BBS. Fr. Wilmer Joseph S. Tria, the university press director, welcomes this new contribution from the senator from Iriga City.

“For many years, we have only studied the life and works of very few heroes that fought the colonizers; heroes that are long dead and in many ways, have become cold and distant figures, and many of these heroes are not from Bikol. We seldom hear anything substantial about the propagandist Jose Maria Panganiban from Camarines Norte; the Arejola brothers of Naga City; church leader Bishop Jorge Barlin; student activist and Martial Law victim Liliosa Hilao; or Potenciano Gregorio, the composer of Sarung Banggi – they are not just monuments or street names, with BBS, we plan to re-introduce these inspiring Bikolnons to our teachers and students. Today, we are very happy that Senator De Lima has given us the trust and confidence to publish her manuscript with us and we continue to pray for the senator’s health and safety,” said Fr. Tria.

For this Bikolnon Biography Series, Senator De Lima has written about her aunt, Sr. Felicitas de Lima, DSA, a religious nun who alongside with Sr. Lasallete Baisa, founded the Foundation of Our Lady of Fatima Center for Human Development in Iriga City. For more than three decades, the Daughters of Saint Augustine (DSA) has been serving the marginalized communities in Bikol, particularly the orphans and the indigenous minority in the area. In recognition for their exemplary service to Bikol, the Ateneo de Naga University has honored the same nun and the Fatima Center with a Bikolnon Bulawan Award, the highest recognition given by the university to institutions and people who have significantly contributed to the development of the region.

Managing editor and deputy press director, Kristian Cordero said that BBS will also honor living individuals like Sr. Felicitas de Lima. According to Cordero, “Sr. Itat is one of the bright lights in Iriga City. Her contribution as a religious leader and as an individual is truly inspiring especially her involvement with the Agta in the Rinconada area. This cultural minority has suffered long enough and I am particularly aware how close they are to Sr. Itat whom they recognized as their ally. We thank Sen. De Lima who has equally honored the university press by giving us this personal look on the life and works of her great aunt.”

The book will be launched next month in time for the National Book Month and the First Bikol Book Festival being organized by the university press.