Revolutionary Salute to Gregorio Rosal (April 19, 1947-June 22, 2011)

Simon "Ka Filiw" Naogsan
Cordillera People's Democratic Front
October 10, 2011

Tribute to Ka Roger

The Cordillera People’s Democratic Front salutes comrade Gregorio “Ka Roger” Rosal and sends its deepest condolences to his family and to the entire revolutionary movement for the loss of a great revolutionary leader, spokesperson and Red fighter.

It is with great honor that the CPDF office of the spokesperson was able to have as guest Ka Roger in 2005 for a joint press conference of the CPP’s Public Information Bureau and the CPDF. This also served as the launching of the spokesperson work of the undersigned. It was an invaluable on-the-job training given by Ka Roger in the art of facing the media and the audience.

Most memorable were the advises Ka Roger imparted, foremost of which was the simple reassuring remark of “just talk the way you talk in front of the masses.” We were then just starting to grasp the fundamentals of media liaison work, and looking for tips in facing the press. Our sole experience then was interaction with the masses so that this new type of work was a new task then.

“Media people are persons with feelings, aspirations, and needs to be understood,” Ka Roger would elucidate. We fully remember his words then: “they need to get the news, they are not plastic, and the media wants to engage in dialogue.”

“Just be true to your answers,” he would add. “We are biased in the interest of the masses."

Our problem then was with the language situation, but Ka Roger easily stilled my anxiety by admonishing that this should not hinder what we need to impart. “The media will adjust and translate, we are on the side of truth and sincerity,” he reassured.

Ka Roger was easy to talk with, he was always unassuming. He impressed on us his utmost dedication to work. “If this is the task given to you, wholeheartedly perform your work!” he would say. Thus no time was wasted; he would wake up early to start his work. Comrades would be astounded by the time he gave to talk to the masses and Red fighters, never running out of explanations and never tiring of answering questions.

His point blank sharing to comrades were gems of thoughts. For instance, he would exhort organizers never to tire from organizing the youth despite difficulties encountered. “If we do not organize the youth and students, the enemy will do the organizing. If we do not guide them properly, others will seize the opportunity.” These were simple words but true.

His sacrifice and courage under fire was well proven in the Cordillera. The masses loved Ka Roger so much that when his group was about to depart after the press conference, timely information from comrades about a checkpoint along the road saved his life. It turned out the enemy got wind of his presence and staged massive military operations throughout the region, involving roadblocks from Ifugao to Bontoc to Abra and Ilocos. Without reservation, he prolonged his stay in the Central Cordillera Highlands for a month, proceeding by foot from one mountain range to another until finding refuge with comrades in another province. At that time the weather was extremely cold, yet Ka Roger did not complain.

Even with a forced vegetarian existence, Ka Roger cheerfully did not object to the food despite considerations to his health. “Kung anong nandyan, kainin,” he would articulate, adding that there are times that we have no option to choose. It was at this time that the price of lettuce plummeted suddenly and gardeners in the hinterlands abandoned their harvests, advising comrades to gather the crops lest it perishes. Thus from morning to evening day by day this became the staple for the maneuvering comrades. Yet Ka Roger was happy with what was served – “mahal ito sa syudad,” he would exclaim.

This was also evident with his attitude of doing with whatever is available. Highly noticeable was the dilapidated condition of his Compaq notebook that had already shown its wear from use. “Basta may gagamitin pa rin,” he would candidly remark.

The retreat was difficult, but one could see his effort. Sometimes, his dedication to work was manifested when he would neglect his physical health and not eat when absorbed with the task at hand.

Ka Roger was a “big brother” to me; one can never find discomfort in asking him. He was always open to providing practical tips in proceeding with the work. He was down to earth, fully understanding how to learn the language of the masses so that he could be understood.

His grasp of the mass line was absolute–he always cautioned about moves that would hinder mass support. He would always be ready to entertain and accommodate whenever the masses requested him to play the harmonica or belt a tune.

Ka Roger has left us, but the legacy he left in Ilocos-Cordillera region will always be remembered and cherished by the comrades and masses. To our Big Brother and dear comrade, farewell, job well done!

Long live the memory of comrade Gregorio Rosal!
Carry on the revolutionary work of Ka Roger!
Long live the people’s democratic revolution!