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MANILA — Prominent activist and politician Horacio “Boy” Morales Jr. (photo above) passed away Feb. 28 after more than two months of being in coma due to a heart stroke, his second, that he suffered while playing golf in Baguio City last December.

He was 68 years old.

Morales was the former Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary under former President Joseph Estrada and was a notable figure in the underground movement during the martial law rule of former President Ferdinand Marcos.

He was born in Moncada, Tarlac on Sept. 11, 1943.

He entered government service in 1965, joining the economic staff of Marcos as a senior economist and eventually becoming the executive vice-president of the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP).

In 1977, Morales was named among the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Philippines by the Philippine Jaycees.

On the day he was supposed to receive the award, he announced his resignation from the Marcos government to join the underground armed resistance linked to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

Morales was an active member of the underground until his arrest in 1982 which led to his detention until 1986, when the newly-installed presidency of Corazon Aquino ordered his release with other political prisoners.

In 1987, Morales ran but failed to secure a seat in the Senate under the banner of the Partido ng Bayan.

Morales, then served as president of the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM) from 1986 to 1998.

In 1998, Morales was appointed to the Estrada Cabinet until the forcible removal of Estrada from office in the 2001 coup called Edsa Dos.

Morales also headed Estrada’s political party, the Partido ng Masang Pilipino (PMP), and served as chairman of the board of the Development Academy of the Philippines during Estrada’s term.

Morales obtained a bachelor of arts degree in economics from the University of the Philippines in 1965, and a master’s degree in economics from the University of Oklahoma in 1968.

The PRRM which he led said Morales played a leading role in building global citizenship alliances and movements, such as the CIVICUS (World Alliance for Citizenship Participation); the Asia-Pacific Civil Society Forum; the People’s Alliance for Social Development; and the Manila People’s Forum on APEC ‘96, a coalition of over 300 non-government organizations (NGOs) in the Asia-Pacific region.

He has also served as executive director of the Coconut Trust Fund Committee; chairman of the Presidential Task Force on the 20:20 Initiative; member of the board of the Land Bank of the Philippines; lead convenor of the National Anti-Poverty Commission; and commissioner of the Population Commission.

Morales’ remains will be cremated at the Loyola Memorial Chapels and Crematorium on a date that his family will announce later.

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