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Margarita Favis Gomez

Also Known As: "Maita"
Birthplace: Bautista, Pangasinan, Ilocos Region, Philippines
Death: July 12, 2012 (65)
Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines (Heart attack)
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Jose Gonzalez Gomez and Cecilia Gonzales Favis
Wife of Private; Private and Private
Ex-wife of Private
Mother of Private; Private; Private; Private and Private
Sister of Private; Private and Private

Occupation: Scholar, activist, beauty queen
Managed by: Jacinta Palerm
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

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About Maita Gomez

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Margarita Favis Gomez – or Maita – was a beautiful woman, a fashion model and a winner of beauty contests. But in the more important sense of the word, she was beautiful because she gave of herself selflessly.

She was born on May 23, 1947 in Pangasinan, the eldest of seven children of a well-to-do family. She was sent to Manila to study at the Assumption High School and later at the St. Scholastica’s College. In college, she took up a premed course at the University of the Philippines.

A regular presence at Manila’s society events, Maita was spotted by high-society couturier Pitoy Moreno at a party and recruited to be his model. She attended a modelling school in Australia, then was selected one of Manila’s “Five Prettiest,” and simultaneously named Miss Philippines, which won her a trip to the Miss World contest in London.

In 1968, she married Carlos Perez-Rubio. The couple lived in the US for two years and returned to the Philippines in 1970. Maita gave birth to her firstborn and only daughter Melissa.

History of political involvement

She then returned to UP and got caught in the student ferment of the period — the First Quarter Storm in 1970 and the Diliman Commune of 1971. Maita joined several student groups, and became active in political discussions, delving on the writings of socialist philosophers Marx and Lenin.

When Marcos imposed martial law in 1972, Maita volunteered to perform underground tasks. Separated from first husband Perez-Rubio, she moved to Baguio City, where she was arrested in 1974, detained first at the Baguio City Jail and then at Camp Olivas in Pampanga. She managed to escape from prison, and decided it was time to join the New People’s Army. She chose for her nom de guerre Ka Dolor.

Her first assignment was at a guerrilla zone in the Quezon-Bicol border area. She was part of a propaganda team sent to undertake expansion missions to Camarines Sur. Ka Dolor and her comrades would build organizations in the community and conduct political education among the people. In 1978, she and her new husband Joey Decena were transferred to Nueva Ecija in Central Luzon where she became known as Ka Lily. Joey was killed in an encounter in 1979.

At the heart of the women’s movement

Maita returned to Manila in 1980 and focused her energies in helping build the women’s movement. In 1984 she co-founded GABRIELA, which united women from all classes in society and linked them to the movement against the Marcos dictatorship. She also helped form WOMB, or Women for the Ouster of Marcos and Boycott in 1985. WOMB, an organization of known women personalities opposed to the dictatorship, campaigned for the release of political prisoners.

After the ouster of the Marcos dictatorship in 1986, Maita helped organize the KAIBA (Kababaihan para sa Inang Bayan) for the 1987 elections. KAIBA was the first political party of women in the Philippines. KAIBA is a statement that women can and should lead and represent the voices of women and other members of society in the political sphere as part of the government.

While a leader in the women’s movement, Maita continued to serve in other capacities. She was an official of the Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA), calling for the release of political prisoners, and co-chair of Makabayan (Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan), a coalition of progressive party-list organizations. She encouraged her children to be active and she kept her home open to the younger activists.

All the while, Maita took university courses and was herself teaching in different universities and accepting speaking engagements at conferences and various events.

Maita left without a warning, after a fatal heart attack, on July 12, 2012.

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Maita Gomez's Timeline

May 23, 1947
Bautista, Pangasinan, Ilocos Region, Philippines
July 12, 2012
Age 65
Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines