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Writer, activist Lualhati Bautista, 77  

Writer, novelist, and activist Lualhati Bautista passed away at the age of 77 on Sunday morning.     

“Sad news for our Torres Clan, our first cousin Lualhati Bautista died at 77 years old this morning,” the late writer’s cousin Sonny Ross Samonte said in a Facebook post on Feb. 12.     

Born in Tondo, Manila on Dec. 2, 1945, Ms. Bautista studied journalism at the Lyceum of the Philippines. The publication of her first short story “Katugon ng Damdamin” in Liwayway Magazine launched her writing career.     

Ms. Bautista is best known for her novels Dekada ’70 (1983); Bata, Bata, Pa’no Ka Ginawa? (1984); and Gapo (1980) – all titles which earned Carlos Palanca Memorial for Literature awards.    

Apart from being a novelist, Ms. Bautista also wrote screenplays for film and television. The film Bulaklak sa City Jail won Best Story and Best Screenplay at the Metro Manila Film Festival in 1984, while the 2002 film adaptation of her novel Dekada ’70 also earned Best Story and Best Screenplay recognition from the Urian Awards and Young Critics Circle. The series Isang Kabanata sa Libro ng Buhay ni Leilani Cruzaldo won Best Drama Story for TV at the Catholic Mass Media Awards in 1987.    

Ms. Bautista also served as vice-president of the Screenwriters Guild of the Philippines and as chair of the Kapisanan ng mga Manunulat ng Nobelang Popular. She was a founding member of the Concerned Artists of the Philippines Women’s Desk and Writers in Cultural and Creative Alternatives.     

In 1986, Ms. Bautista became a national fellow for fiction by the University of the Philippines (UP) Creative Writing Center. She also received the Diwata Award for best writer at the 16th International Women’s Film Festival of the UP Film Center in 2006.   

Ms. Bautista was also an activist who criticized the sociopolitical system in the country – issues and topics were evident in her writing.   

Among her last published titles were Bayan Ko, an anthology of short stories, in 2019; and Alitaptap sa Gabing Madilim, a poetry collection, in 2020. — MAPS

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