IN A small town in Parang, Maguindanao, there lived a father named Tahir Lidasan. He was not just an ordinary father; he was the first Iranun devoted lawyer who fought tirelessly for justice and equality, particularly for the poor and marginalized members of our society.

The name Tahir is derived from the Arabic word which means “pure” or simply a man with a pure heart. Tahir had always been passionate about the law and knew from a young age that he wanted to use his knowledge for the greater good. He was endowed with a natural ability to empathize with others and understand the struggles they faced. This empathy fueled his determination to fight for the rights and well-being of those who couldn't afford proper representation.

There were at least five cases he won that reached the Supreme Court. Some of these cases were even studied in law school. Because of his passion for helping his people, he never had enough time for his family. But he was close to his children. At every opportune time he would listen patiently to their stories from school, help them with their concerns, and read them traditional Iranun bedtime tales filled with adventure and hope. 

Tahir knew the importance of instilling in his children the values of empathy, justice, and unwavering love.

He tried his luck in politics. He wanted to serve as a government-elected official. But his view of clean politics was his default. He inherited huge tracts of land in Matanog. But he never claimed it as his own. He instead allowed Iranun farmers to cultivate it on their own without asking for any rent or payment. 

Tahir was married to Bai Ulanbai Ayunan Sinsuat. A devoted wife who was also one of the pioneer Muslim women who studied in Manila in the 1950s. 

As the years passed, Tahir’s reputation continued to grow, but he never lost sight of what truly mattered. He remained a pillar of strength and love for his family, attending every important moment in his children's lives, and reaffirming his commitment to defending those who couldn't defend themselves.

One sunny Sunday morning, Tahir arrived at his home in Cotabato City. His old house was filled with warmth and serenity. Little did his family know that day would be both beautiful and heartbreaking. Unbeknownst to his children, Tahir was about to take his leave from this world, quietly and peacefully.

Tahir was my father. 

The love and bond that my father left behind became the foundation upon which our family built our future. We are carrying our father's values, and hopefully, like him, become compassionate individuals who made a positive impact on the lives of those around us. 

Although our Dad’s physical presence was no longer with us, his love lived on in the hearts of his children and families. And on peaceful Sunday mornings, as the sun gently rose, we found comfort, knowing that he was watching over us, forever present in our thoughts and memories.