MANILA — Activists from various sectors honored Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria "Joma" Sison in a protest action held Monday in Quezon City.
The communist leader and former university professor passed away at 8:40 p.m. on Friday (Philippine time) in The Netherlands, where he had lived in self-imposed exile, CPP Chief Information Officer Marco Valbuena said in a statement, without specifying the cause of death.
In a protest held at the University of the Philippines Diliman, leaders from various sectors narrated how Sison contributed to understanding the social problems faced by the Filipino people.
"Buhay po si Ka Joma at kung siya ang tatanungin, buhay siya dahil nandito tayo ngayon at dahil may malawak na masang oorganisahin at pakikilusin," urban group Kadamay spokesperson Mimi Domingo said.
(Ka Joma is alive and if you ask him, he is alive because we are here today and because there are large masses to be organized and mobilized.)
Martial law survivor Bonifacio Ilagan said that he looked up to Sison for continuing the fight for his country up to his last breath despite being exiled.
Sison had described himself as a "recognized political refugee" but with no "legal admission" in The Netherlands, where he had been in exile since 1987 when the Philippine government canceled his passport following the collapse of peace talks.
"The exiled continued to fight for his motherland against those who banished him, the unwelcomed exploiters of his people and he’s certain that he is at home in his own country and world," Ilagan read in his statement.
Asked what's next for the people's movement, Kilusang Mayo Uno chairperson Elmer Labog said Sison molded future generations to lead the revolution.
"Hindi kailanman mawawala ang mga babaeng Joma, ang mga lalaking Joma sa mga susunod na henerasyon ng pakikibaka ng sambayanang Pilipino para kamtin ang tunay na kalayaan at demokrasya sa ating bayan," he said.
(Men and women like Joma will never be lost in the future generations of the struggle of the Filipino people to achieve true freedom and democracy in our country.)
Anakbayan chairperson Jeann Miranda vowed that the youth will continue Sison’s battle cry for national democracy.
"Mga kasama, mga kabataan, tanganan natin ang militanteng tradisyon na sinimulan ng Katipunan, nina Bonifacio … ipagtagumpay natin ang pambansang demokratikong pakikibaka na may sosyalistang perspektiba at katulad ni Jose Maria Sison, buhay man ay ialay."
(Comrades, young people, let's take care of the militant tradition started by the Katipunan, by Bonifacio... let's win the national democratic struggle with a socialist perspective and like Jose Maria Sison, we will sacrifice our lives.)