Tribute to Ka Roger

Prof. Jose Ma. Sison
Founding Chairman, Communist Party of the Philippines
NDFP-Chief Political Consultant
10 October 2011

Julie and I wish to convey our most heartfelt condolences to the daughters and entire family of Comrade Gregorio Rosal, Ka Roger, and to all cadres and members of the Communist Party of the Philippines, all the Red commanders and fighters of the New People's Army, all adherents of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and the broad masses of the Filipino people.

All of us mourn the passing away of Ka Roger and feel a deep sense of loss. But more importantly we celebrate his outstanding achievements in loyal revolutionary service to the proletariat and people. We honor him as an exemplary communist cadre, as an outstanding Filipino patriot, as a valiant Red fighter, as a lucid communicator and as an effective educator and organizer among the toiling masses.

We join the CPP, NPA, the NDFP, the organs of democratic power, the mass organizations and the entire people in paying tribute to Ka Roger. His revolutionary record is well summed up in the statement of the Central Committee of the CPP, giving him the Red salute, and in the statement of the Southern Luzon Regional Party Committee, describing him as the undying voice of the Philippine revolution and the Filipino people.

Julie and I have always admired Ka Roger for having come from a family of peasants and farm workers in Batangas and having done hard work in order to augment the income of his family and save money for getting a certain amount of formal education. We have been proud that he joined the Kabataang Makabayan and subsequently developed his patriotic and progressive consciousness and activism to the level of a proletarian revolutionary.

We were happy to know that he was among those who escaped from Camp Vicente Lim in 1973. And we laughed a lot when we learned from some of his co-escapees that he had a great sense of humor and they narrated to us some of his jokes which had carried serious political content against the US and the Marcos fascist dictatorship. We were amused by the fact that he had not been informed about the escape plan but sensed it eventually and insisted on being included in the escape.

He excelled as an educator and organizer in Party and mass work. Thus, he rose to high positions in the Party, especially in the Southern Tagalog region. But the job that he loved most was that of being a radio broadcaster. He enjoyed making his own broadcasts from the Sierra Madre radio station and answering questions from his fellow broadcasters in the big Manila-based radio networks.

He was serious when he often said that he would not like to occupy any high position in the revolutionary government but his ambition was to become a steady radio broadcaster after the victory of the new democratic revolution. At any rate, he was so good at propaganda work that he would be promoted to central positions as spokesperson of the CPP and the NDFP and as head of the CPP Information Bureau.

Whenever I slackened in making radio interviews in the 1990s, because I had other work to do, I was always happy that Ka Roger was the frequent voice of the Philippine revolution and the Filipino people. He had the superlative advantage of speaking right within the Philippines and from among the revolutionary forces and masses. And he had a clear and direct style that expressed in simple terms for the benefit of the masses the most complex situations and analysis.

We, in the NDFP Negotiating Panel, had a plan in the early years of the previous decade to bring him abroad as a political consultant, not so much to provide him with medical care because he was getting excellent care from competent doctors in the Philippines but to take him away from conditions by which he always demanded to do hard work and take long walks on rough terrain. But unfortunately, the peace talks started to flounder in June 2001.

We refer to the frustrated wish to show how much love and concern we who were abroad had for Ka Roger. But of course our comrades and friends in the Philippines gave him excellent care and comfort despite the risks and difficulties. No amount of help is enough to show gratitude for the selfless dedication and service of Ka Roger to the people.

The revolutionary movement also showed strength of character and organization by being able to secure him from constant manhunt by the enemy as well as from the recurrent inquiries from his fellow broadcasters in the big mass media.

We are grateful to Ka Roger for his legacy of fearless commitment and resolute struggle that he has left with his people and the revolutionary forces. His revolutionary life and deeds have become part and parcel of the ever growing and ever advancing forces of the Philippine revolution. His legacy inspires the current generation and future ones. His example will always be emulated by the revolutionary youth and the entire people. ###