Breaking: Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria ‘Joma’ Sison dies at 83

Joma has fallen not in battle but a natural death

Teodoro ‘Ted’ Alcuitas
Editor, PhilippineCanadianNews.Com

Jose ‘Joma’ Maria Sison died on December 16, 2022 in The Netherlands where he has been in self-exile since 1986. He was 83. He died after a two-week confinement in a hospital, Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) spokesman Marco Valbuena announced. The cause of death was not disclosed.

The ageing ‘Ka Joma’ died the way he wrote in his poem: What Makes a Hero?”

“There is the hero who dies in the battlefield, There is the hero who dies of hunger and disease, There is the hero who dies of some accident, There is the hero who dies of old age.”

The writer mets Sison (at right) in Amsterdam. (Photo: Author’s archive)

According to Ang Bayan, Sison died in a hospital in Utrech, Netherlands on Friday, ( Dec. 16) at 8:40 p.m., Philippine time. His death came barely 10 days before the 54th founding anniversary of the CPP on December 26.

10-day mourning period

The central committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has set a 10-day mourning period in honour of its founding chair, Jose Maria “Joma” Sison, during which its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), can “stage tactical offensives against the rampaging fascist forces to defend the people,” Inquirer reports.

The CPP also ordered all NPA units to perform a 21-gun salute on Dec. 26, the day of the party’s 54th anniversary and the end of the mourning period, “by way of giving the highest tribute and bidding farewell to our beloved leader.”

Sison is the founder of the Philippine Communist Party, whose military wing — the New People’s Army (NPA) – has been waging an armed rebellion in one of the world’s longest running rebellion. The conflict between the NPA and the Philippine government has killed more than 40,000 people.

“Of course, the passing of Ka Joma is a great loss for the Party and revolutionary movement,” Marco Valbuena, the CPP chief information officer, said in a statement. “But like the children taught, guided and trained by their Great Father, the Philippine revolutionaries can stand on their own feet,” he said.

Sison autographs book for the writer (right) (Photo: Author’s archive)

Valbuena was reacting to a post on Facebook by the Civil Relations Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines stating that the CPP, its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), and political arm, National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), would be “greatly weakened resulting from the death of their founder.”
“Due to their leadership vacuum, a leadership crisis within the underground organization of the CPP will significantly affect the whole communist movement,” according to the post.
But Valbuena said the courageous stand of CPP members “is a testament to [Sison’s] legacy that the Party and revolutionary movement remain strong, vibrant and determined to carry the struggle forward.”

Own share of problems

Like any other revolutionary movements, the CPP has its own share of mistakes and many have been disillusioned by its twists and turns including this writer. But whatever is it guilty of, there is no doubt that the causes for which it fought and still fighting for the past four decades is still existing – the abject poverty of the masses of people, the landless tillers of the land ,and many others that fuels the revolution.
We can only hope that the passing of Joma Sison who dedicated his whole life for the liberation of his country- my country, your country, will be fulfilled.

Juliet de Lima, wife of Sison, signs book for the author. (Author’s archives)
What Makes a Hero

By Jose Maria Sison

It is not the manner of death
That makes a hero.
It is the meaning of life drawn from the struggles against the foe.
There is the hero who dies in the battlefield, There is the hero who dies of hunger and disease, There is the hero who dies of some accident, There is the hero who dies of old age.
Whatever is the manner of death, There is the common denominator: A hero serves the people
To his very last breath.

(Filipino translation)

Ang Pagiging Bayani
Hindi sa paraan ng kamatayan Ang pagiging bayani.
Ito’y kahulugang hinango
Sa mga pakikibaka sa kaaway.
May bayaning namamatay sa larangan ng labanan, May bayaning namamatay sa gutom at sakit,
May bayaning namamatay sa isang aksidente,
May bayaning namamatay sa katandaan.
Anuman ang paraan ng kamatayan, May pamantayan para sa lahat:
Ang bayani ay naglilingkod sa bayan Hanggang sa pinakahuli niyang hininga.

10 December 1977

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: