Antonio Yapsutco Fortich
|Installed||January 13, 1967|
|Term ended||January 31, 1989|
|Ordination||March 4, 1944 (priest), February 24, 1967 (bishop)|
|Birth name||Antonio Yapsutco Fortich|
|Born||August 11, 1913|
Sibulan, Negros Oriental, Philippine Islands
|Died||July 2, 2003 (aged 89)|
|Parents||Ignacio Fortich (father), Rosalia Yapsutco (mother)|
|Alma mater||Ateneo de Manila|
His name is inscribed on the Wall of Remembrance at the Philippines' Bantayog ng mga Bayani (Monument of Heroes), in recognition of his opposition to the excesses of the 21-year dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos.
Antonio Yapsutco Fortich was born on August 11, 1913 in Sibulan, Negros Oriental. He attended elementary and high school in Dumaguete, going on to the Ateneo de Manila for college and theological studies (San Jose Minor and San Jose Major seminaries). His parents, Ignacio and Rosalia Yapsutco Fortich, were well-to-do farmers and he was the elder and only son in their family of two.
|Reference style||The Most Reverend|
|Spoken style||Your Excellency|
|Posthumous style||not applicable|
On March 4, 1944, at the height of the World War II, Fortich was ordained by Michael O'Doherty, Archbishop of Manila. His first assigned in Bacolod City and was active in work that empowered the poor. Bishop Fortich was known to his followers as "Commander Tony". Like his superior, Jaime Sin, the Cardinal Archbishop of Manila, he was an ardent opponent of Ferdinand Marcos. Bishop Fortich spoke against the hanging judges of Manila known as the Guillotine Club. He was one of the first people to alert the government to the illegal activities of timber poachers, who had stripped hundreds of acres of forest in Negros. He supported the election of Joseph Estrada as president of the Philippines, and when it became clear that Estrada was using his position to accumulate personal wealth, the bishop withdrew his support.
Bishop Fortich set up co-operatives composed of small landowners and sugar workers, in order to break the debt cycle suffered by Filipino sugar workers. In doing so, the bishop antagonised large landowners, including congressman Armando Gustilo, who at one stage tried to intimidate him by lobbing a hand grenade into his house.
Bishop Fortich died on July 2, 2003, aged 89.
Honored as Domestic Prelate in 1958