By NDFP International Information Office
The international office of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) is set to celebrate Prof. Jose Maria Sison’s 55 years of service to the Filipino people’s struggle for national and social liberation, and his 75th birthday, with a cultural event on Sunday, 09 February 2014, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Luis G. Jalandoni, the NDFP Chief International Representative and Chairperson of the NDFP Negotiating Panel holding peace talks with the Manila government, will deliver the keynote speech for the event. A video collage of the tribute song, Pulang Saludo, Ka Joma (“Red Salute, Comrade Joma”), depicting Prof. Sison’s contributions to and role in the people´s revolutionary struggle, will be played in his honor.
Requests for messages have been sent out to parties, organizations and personages in various fields of endeavor. The messages received shall be distributed, and some read out, during the event. All the messages will be published on his website and in a commemorative pamphlet.
The cultural numbers will include poems of Prof. Sison which have become lyrics of songs. Some of the poems in his latest book of poems, The Guerrilla Is Like a Poet, will be recited. The poems Cry for Justice and Struggle for Justice, first delivered by Prof. Sison at the Open Source Tribunal on 23 November 2013, will be chanted and danced. The cultural numbers will be performed under the auspices of the Linangan Art and Culture Network and the Diruta Consort.
A 15-minute video highlighting Prof. Sison’s personal and revolutionary background will be screened – his political persecution even while abroad and legal victories in landmark cases; and his lectures and speeches on global and Philippines issues as a teacher, as Founding Chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines, as Chairperson of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle, and as Chief Political Consultant of the NDFP in peace negotiations with the Manila government.
A proposal to set up and raise funds for a People’s International Research and Study Center (PIRSC) will be presented. A special feature of the Center will be the study of Prof. Sison´s works and having him as special instructor for groups of activists from various countries. After this will be the launching of Prof. Sison’s latest available books under the five-part series Continuing the Philippine Revolution. Other books of his will be offered for sale. He will be ready to sign the copies of the books sold.
Prof. Sison has served the Filipino people in their revolutionary struggle for national liberation and democracy since 1959 when he emerged as a student leader in the University of the Philippines. While teaching at this university from 1959 to 1962, he promoted the patriotic and progressive youth movement on a national scale. He founded the youth organization Kabataang Makabayan (KM, Patriotic Youth) in 1964 and became its first Chairman.
He became the Vice President for Research and Education of the Lapiang Manggagawa (LM, Workers’ Party) and gave refresher courses to veteran worker and peasant cadres in 1963 and 1964. He was elected General Secretary of the Socialist Party of the Philippines in 1965, and also General Secretary of the united front organization, Movement for the Advancement of Nationalism in 1966. He was the most outstanding activist in carrying forward the anti-imperialist and anti-feudal movement in the 1960s.
Further on, he became the Founding Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines, reestablished under the theoretical guidance of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought in 1968. Together with his comrades, he founded the New People’s Army in 1969 and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines in 1973.
He fought the Marcos fascist dictatorship. He was captured in 1977 and continued to oppose the dictatorship even while he was in detention. He was tortured and kept in solitary confinement in most years of his detention. He was released soon after the fall of the Marcos ruling clique in 1986. He rejoined the faculty of the University of Philippines and delivered a series of lectures on the main thesis that, despite the fall of Marcos, the Philippines remained semicolonial and semifeudal, and still needed a new democratic revolution.
He left the Philippines on 31 August 1986 for a global lecture tour. The military pressured President Corazon Aquino to cancel his passport, in a futile attempt to force his return to the Philippines in 1988. He sought political asylum in The Netherlands. The US and Manila governments persisted in using the Dutch government to persecute him by denying him asylum, despite being recognized as a political refugee by the Dutch courts, and by subjecting him to terrorist blacklisting and detention on false murder charges. He won his legal cases against the terrorist blacklisting and the false murder charges.
He has been the Chief Political Consultant of the NDFP in peace negotiations with the Manila government since 1990. He co-founded the International League of Peoples’ Struggle in 2001 and has been Chairperson of its International Coordinating Committee since 2004.
In all his years abroad, Prof. Sison has consistently followed events and developments in his country and worldwide. And he has acted on various issues by attending conferences, conducting research, and delivering lectures and speeches to university audiences, labor organizations, conferences of parties, and others. His cultural activities include participation in major poetry festivals. He has written several volumes of books.