Cynthia Maglaya

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Cynthia Maglaya

KDP leaders

Cynthia Maglaya immigrated to the United States in 1970 and settled in the San Francisco Bay Area. Earlier that same year Maglaya had been a student leader in the Kabataang Makabayan (KM), a CPP-led student organization which participated in the series of massive demonstrations in Manila called the First Quarter Storm.

Prior to her departure from the Philippines, she was charged with a responsibility to build support for the Philippine revolution in the U.S. She would later become one of the founders and national leaders of the KDP. She, along with other immigrants who came out of the national democratic movement, brought the experience of the KM and CPP to share with their American raised counterparts.[1]

For the first four years of its existence, the KDP struggled with developing its revolutionary identity. A more prevailing problem, however, was the inexperience among its ranks. Although many had already been activists prior to joining the KDP, membership in a highly structured organization was a relatively new experience. The process of instilling revolutionary standards was guided by an experienced core of leaders in the NEB which included Cynthia Maglaya, Bruce Occena and Melinda Paras. Occefia and Paras were both American-raised Filipinos. Occena was a veteran of the Third World Strike at UC Berkeley and a leading member in the Kulayaan Collective; Paras was a activist in both the US. and the Philippines where she was active in the KM. They established a system of review and summation, organized studies, and initiated the publication of the Ang Aktibista (AA) as an internal bulletin for activists. The AA, first published in November 1973, became a valuable source for studies on a wide variety of theoretical, political, and organizational topics from democratic-centralism to international developments such as Vietnam's incursion into Kampuchea in 1979.

NPA supporter


Mario Santos was in 1978, a member of the International Association of Filipino Patriots. He addressed a an April 2 meeting in the La Pena Cultural Center in Berkeley, celebrating the founding of the New Peoples Army. Walden Bello opened the meeting, and Cynthia Maglaya, also with the International Association of Filipino Patriots, closed the meeting with a call to support the NPA.[2]

1978 KDP protest


Members of Union of Democratic Filipinos sang at an anti-Marcos rally in Union Square circa 1978. They were Melinda Paras, Nora de Leon, Sorcy Rocamora, Christine Araneta, Cynthia Maglaya, Ruby Howing, Marcela Pabros, Terri Bautista, Nena Hernandez, Anatess Araneta, photograph Rick Rocamora.


Frontline April 1983

Cynthia Maglaya died of illness in 1983.


  1. [1]
  2. Ang katipunan, April 1978, page 12]