Loretta Rosales was the founder of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), an organization of progressive teachers established in the ’80s. It was also the group that was at the forefront of the protest movement against the Education Act of 1980. ACT played a major role in the passage of the Salary Standardization Law for teachers and spearheaded the first nationwide teachers’ strike in 1984. More than a decade later, in 1998, Rosales left the ACT and helped set up Akbayan, a multi-sector party of workers, farmers, professionals and women. She would also run under the party-list system and would win a seat in the 1998 elections, and serve three terms as the party-list representative from 1998-2007.

Loretta Ann Rosales graduated with a Foreign Service degree, and worked as a copywriter after graduation. She got married then pursued her Master’s education in Asian Studies and Spanish, which she later taught at the Jose Rizal College (JRC). She was drawn to leftist ideals after being exposed while she was a history and political science instructor at JRC. She was recruited to the Humanist League, a National Democratic Movement organization for young professionals.

Rosales was fired from JRC for leading a teachers’ strike, an incident which further stoke the fire in her to start taking part in street rallies and demonstrations. Her involvement led her to become a natural target for arrest when martial law was declared in 1972. Under martial law, she was imprisoned but was released “for humanitarian reasons”. After her release, she started to work for ACT.

In Congress, Rosales, together with other Akbayan representatives, championed legislations on land reform, human rights and government reform. They initiated investigations that helped expose corruption. Akbayan authored laws such as the Absentee Voting Law, a historic law that allowed overseas Filipinos to exercise their right to vote, the Anti-Violence against Women and Children Law, among others.

In 2010, Rosales was appointed by President Benigno S. Aguino III to head the country’s Commission on Human Rights.

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