On July 6th, long standing SOMO partner Cecilia Viscayno Tuico passed away and was laid to rest in her hometown in Laguna, Philippines.
The terrible news of Cecil’s passing came as a shock to all of us at SOMO. We have known Cecil and the Workers’ Assistance Centre (WAC) for a long time, and have such good memories of working together. Before 2005, we mainly collaborated on joint efforts to improve working conditions in the garment industry.
But when SOMO started to investigate labour conditions in the electronics sector, Cecil was also involved from the start. We remember well her presence at the inaugural meeting of the GoodElectronics Network in 2006 in Guadalajara, Mexico, where Cecil represented WAC. She has been a member of the Steering Committee ever since, and was very active within the whole network.
Cecil’s great dedication to workers’ rights both in the Philippines and worldwide is unforgettable. For us at SOMO, activities related to advocacy for labour rights and communities in the Philippines are inextricably linked to Cecil and her work at WAC and it is still unimaginable that she is no longer there.
Together with Cecil and her colleagues at WAC, we have organised several international meetings in Rosario, Cavite. It was always such a pleasure to be there, to be with Cecil at the WAC office. Meetings at the WAC office did not feel like work; it felt as if we were at home and you could feel that everybody at WAC also considered it as home. We were treated to delicious large communal meals with a lot of comrades, brothers and sisters and a lot of enthusiastic dogs. In her friendly soft way, Cecil was in charge and took care of everything.
From the moment Cecil realised that the SOMO researchers loved the dried mango slices from the Philippines, she always made sure that she did not travel to Europe without bringing mango slices. Somehow, she always managed to get them delivered to SOMO’s office. Crazy, but of course we loved her for it.
We will miss Cecil very much. The Steering Committee and members of GoodElectronics also have to find a way to continue without her knowledge, vision and dedication. In memory of Cecil, we will continue the fight for justice and workers’ welfare. We wish her family, her comrades, and brothers and sisters a lot of strength to carry this loss.
Cecil, rest in power.
SOMO researchers Esther de Haan, Pauline Overeem, Irene Schipper and all colleagues at SOMO, and (former) GoodElectronics coordinators Alejandro González and Camiel Donicie.