MANILA, Philippines — Maureen “Mo” Castillo Pagaduan, a champion of women’s empowerment and a retired professor in community development of the University of the Philippines (UP), died on Tuesday from a lingering ailment in Quezon City. She was 67.
Her death was announced by her husband, Jun Bandayrel, Inquirer associate editor and head of Page One operations.
Pagaduan taught both undergraduate and graduate courses in community development and in women and development at the UP College of Social Work and Community Development (CSWCD). She conducted classes in community organizing, feminist perspectives and strategies in women organizing, and community-based social enterprise.
She obtained her master’s degree in community development at UP CSWCD in 1981 and master’s degree in development studies, major in women and development, at the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, Netherlands.
She acted as consultant to many nongovernmental organizations, several government agencies and international development institutions, as well as to the Inquirer, which led to the establishment of its training center.
Pagaduan cofounded the UP Center for Integrative and Development Studies’ Alternative Development Program in 2017. Her involvement “greatly expanded and cemented the program’s engagement and cooperation with local communities of grassroots women’s organizations and indigenous peoples,” according to the center.
She served as executive director and board chair of the Women’s Legal and Human Rights Bureau, which has been at the forefront in the fight to end sexual violence against women and girls, and she actively worked toward empowering various communities of indigenous women, women survivors of Typhoon “Yolanda” and urban poor women. She was its treasurer before her death.
Professor Sylvia Estrada-Claudio, dean of the UP CSWCD, recalled how those who worked with Pagaduan described her as “one of the most passionate among us when it came to getting in right with the communities we serve and for the communities we serve.”
A life of caring
“People talked about how much you cared for the big issues but also your students, our partners in the community, your coworkers, your colleagues,” Claudio said of Pagaduan in a Facebook post.
In a separate entry, Pagaduan’s former student, Elmer Malibiran, said the two of them “had a lot of disagreements, but [she] always chose to love. And [she] taught me to hope even if everything seemed to fall apart.”
She “lent me [her] voice to find my own. [She] had faith in me, when I was in doubt,” said Malibiran, who is now based in New York.