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Letters to Jose Maria Sison





By Jose Maria Sison and Julieta de Lima

7 September 2001

Julie and I, together with our children, embrace Menchie, Daphne, Athena, Ugee and Raj in sincere condolence over the death of Romy.

We share your deep sense of loss. At the same time, we are comforted that Romy has found relief from his illness. His rest is well deserved after decades of hard work in the service of the people and found relief from a long period of illness.

We join the people in the Philippines and abroad who honor him for the virtues and deeds that made his life meaningful and fruitful.

He was a Christian youth leader who joined the national-democratic movement. He became more dedicated to the cause and became more militant as the risks to life, limb and liberty ran higher under the fascist dictatorship of the US-Marcos regime.

We recognize that Romy, together with his beloved wife Menchie, made outstanding contributions to the struggle of the Filipino people for national freedom and democracy, especially by promoting international solidarity in support of that struggle.

In 1975, Romy and Menchie assumed responsibility for developing in the Asia Pacific region international solidarity work in support of the Filipino people’s struggle. They had nearly nothing to start with in material terms. But they had a just cause, daring, tenacity, creativity and resourcefulness.

Eventually, they established the Resource Center for Philippine Concerns. This was at first based in Hongkong and later on in Tokyo. They set a high standard of production in their line of work. They pioneered in establishing and operating the resource center as the hub of solidarity work. They engaged in research, publication and information campaigns.

They built solidarity relations with political parties, trade unions, farmers’ organizations, youth organizations, citizens’ groups and other types of organizations. They linked these with their Philippine counterparts for the purpose of mutual benefit and cooperation.

They succeeded in motivating the formation of resource centers and solidarity organizations in several countries in the Asia-Pacific region and also farther afield in North America and Western Europe. They pushed programs and projects for the benefit of victims of human rights violations, migrant workers, women, and so on.

They conducted solidarity conferences in various countries in the Asia-Pacific region. On the basis of their experience in these conferences, they pushed forward the Stony Point Conference which in 1983 raised international solidarity work for the Filipino people’s struggle to a new and higher level. This came on time for the upsurge of the people’s struggle in 1983-86 to topple the fascist dictator Marcos.

We came to know Romy closely from 1986 onward. He was resolute and militant in his commitment to serve the people. He stood his ground in a principled way against all kinds of adversity. And he constantly sought ways to preserve and enlarge the gains made in their line of work or to break entirely new ground for the benefit of the people and their revolutionary movement.

While abroad and after his return to the Philippines, Romy was an indefatigable project maker. In conceptualizing and implementing projects, his prime concern was always what is good for the people and what advances their rights and interests.

We cannot pay tribute to Romy without expressing gratitude to him for what he has done for his people. We are also grateful for everything he has done for us.

When we toured Japan in 1986, he was very thoughtful and hardworking in helping us and attending to our needs. His concern for our well being and safety was such that when we wanted to return to the Philippines and attend the funeral of Ka Lando Olalia, he strongly objected to our wish. He did everything to help us proceed with our tour in India and onward to Western Europe.

In a visit to us in Utrecht in 1989, he was acutely aware of the campaign of demonification against us and he insisted that we acquire a fax machine in order to be able to wage a tit-for-tat struggle in the mass media against our detractors. His solicitous advice proved to be correct. Taking heed of it enabled us to counteract effectively the avalanche of attacks.

Romy contributed his best for the advance of the national democratic movement against foreign and feudal oppression and exploitation. He fought hard for a better kind of society. In this regard, his life and work are exemplary. We shall always cherish his memory and legacy. #

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