Tuesday, 18 October 2011

RIP Ka Roger

Committed Revolutionary Gregorio "Ka Roger"* Rosal died aged 64 after a series of heart attacks.

It was announced a few days ago (October 15th) in the Philippines that spokesman and senior member of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)and its armed wing the New Peoples Army (NPA) Gregorio "Ka Roger" Rosal had passed away aftering a series of Heart attacks. The announcement was itself delayed (He died on 22 June 2011) to allow time for the CPP (an outlawed political party) to contact his daughters and break the news to them before public announcements.

Ka Rogers demise has received outpourings of grieve from many in the Philippines. The National Democratic Front of the Philippines(a coalition of left wing parties, unions, progressive churches and civil rights groups) released a statement which can be read in full here.

"The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) renders the highest tribute to Ka Roger, who loved and served the masses for more than forty years. The NDFP conveys its most heartfelt condolences to his children, his siblings, and other members of his family, and to his many comrades and friends."

Ka was imprisoned by the hated Marcos Dictatorship in 1973, and was after he and nine other prisoners escaped from prison that he made his way to the countryside to join up with the Guerrilla army of the NPA (established in 1969) which following the Sino-Soviet split had broken from the old Moscow aligned Communist party and had begun implementing Maoist ideology** whilst at the same time building a Peoples Army against the oppressions of the pro Washington government in Manila

"After his incarceration under the Marcos dictatorship in 1973 and his daring escape together with nine other comrades later that year, Ka Roger joined the revolutionary armed struggle and became an organizer of various guerilla fronts in the Southern Tagalog Region and also part of the Bicol region."

In 1993 he became the official Spokesperson of the CPP essentially making him the parties foreign affairs correspondent as well. There were several quite important shifts in position during his time as spokesman, in 1995 the CPP publicly supported same sex relationships and in 2002 the NPA had its first same sex marriage between members. Beating the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell in America by Six years.

Though the NPA peaked in the 1980s both it, the CPP and the NDFP continue to be a large thorn in the side of the government (regardless who gets to be its official "leader") and as a result like all threats to Washington aligned governments have been added to the dreaded list of Foreign Terrorist Organisations (currently number 9 below ETA but above Continuity IRA) this is despite two quite important factors; one the NDFP of which the CPP and NPA are members implements the Geneva convention. And two as that article states the government of Philippines is guilty of gross human rights abuses and war crimes.

"The International Committee of the Red Cross, the Amnesty International, the International Commission of Jurists and other respected international human rights organizations have extensively documented since the 1970s the gross human rights violations perpetrated by the military, police and paramilitary forces of the GRP and involving the forced displacement of millions of people, ethnocide against minorities, indiscriminate bombardments and strafing, massacres, assassinations, summary executions, torture, illegal detention of tens of thousands of people and wanton destruction of property and the people's livelihood. In the human rights class suit against the Marcos estate in the US Federal District Court in Hawaii, there is the documentation of at least 10,000 victims of torture, murder and involuntary disappearance."

And then there was the recent use of IED's by the Philippine military.

Its a shame Georgio Rosal passed away before he got to see the Philippines he fought so hard for but in the end I'm sure he could take solace in the knowledge that through his efforts and the hard work of the CPP and New Peoples Army prevented the corrupt government of the Philippines from having its way, and just maybe there sacrifices will pay off in the near future.

* Sometimes spelt Ka Rodger.
** For the uninitiated Maoist parties differed from the Soviet Communists in that they were more interested in the rural peasantry, more open to Guerilla warfare and completely against any relations
 with the West.

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