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January 12, 2005

To the Beloved Family of Papo de Asis,
His Closest Comrades and Friends
Through Habi-Arts

We share your grief over the passing away of Papo de Asis. We feel a personal sense of loss because we knew Papo as one of the artists most active in the Free Jose Maria Committee in the period of 1982 to 1986, the years of growing mass unrest leading to the overthrow of the Marcos fascist dictatorship by the people in 1986.

All of us who have known the political and artistic commitment, work and accomplishments as well as all the exemplary personal qualities of Papo are saddened. But at the same time we are all comforted by the fact that he has left to us and to the entire Filipino people a significant and inspiring body of works. We are glad to know that his family, comrades and friends are starting to consolidate this legacy.

Papo will always be remembered and honored as an outstanding revolutionary cadre and artist who studied Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and Philippine society and revolution, who propagated and practised social realism and who contributed to the advance of the new democratic revolution in the Philippines through his artistic works and through his indefatigable efforts to arouse, organize and mobilize the artists and other cultural workers to serve the people.

Papo was ever eager to know better the workers and peasants that he depicted in his works. He either lived with them or he renewed his links with them through visits and serious social investigation. He was able to go to so many places in several regions in the Philippines, where the revolutionary forces and people had grown in strength. He worked for one underground publication after another.

In summing up the life of Papo, it is necessary to have a chronology of his place of work and residence, his artistic works and the major political and artistic organizations and events that he initiated or joined. But to be most interesting and enlightening, it is necessary to show his resoluteness, courage and militancy against terrible forces and tremendous odds and his gentle persuasiveness, humility, style of hard work and helpfulness to comrades and friends.

Certainly, it took extraordinary conviction and bravery for Papo to be a revolutionary activist and artist under conditions of the Marcos fascist dictatorship. He was a real comrade in arms and not a mere fair weather friend. He was not afraid of organizing the Mabini artists and the artists in universities along the national democratic line. He made manifest his position on social reality not only in the relatively cozy art galleries with framed paintings but also in street mass actions with huge murals and gigantic figures.

We are happy to know that wherever Papo was, in the Philippines, in the United States or elsewhere, he was always a revolutionary dedicated to
the struggle of the Filipino people for national liberation and democracy
as well as to that of the people of the world against imperialism and reaction. He looked forward to the eventual victory of the proletariat and people in the struggle for socialism.

Papo de Asis will always live in our hearts and minds and in the struggle of the Filipino people for national and social liberation against US imperialism and the local exploiting classes of big compradors and landlords.

--Jose Maria Sison
International League of Peoples” Struggle

--Julieta de Lima
Executive Director,
International Network of Philippine Studies

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