BRIEF MESSAGES & LETTERS, 2001 - Present
Red Salute to Comrade Luis Jalandoni
By Jose Maria Sison
I am glad to be among those who write and speak on the revolutionary work and achievements of Comrade Luis Jalandoni on the occasion of his 70th birthday. Our testimonies and reflections can augment and complement each other. But all our words can only try to approximate and sum up the richness of his decades of service to the people before and after joining the Communist Party of the Philippines.
When the cadres of the Party became close to him in the early 1970s, they recognized that he had a social conscience acutely critical of the exploitative system, he was militantly engaged in social action among the sugar farm workers and peasants and was desirous of building the revolutionary strength of the toiling masses and bringing them to a new and higher level of revolutionary struggle.
I first came to know about Louie through reports of the Party secretary of the Eastern Visayas Committee in 1971 and 1972, when this region still included what would later be distinguished as the Central Visayas. Eventually, Louie was eventually integrated in the Western Visayas organization.
I readily recognized his name when a radio news broadcast mentioned his arrest in early 1974, together with Coni and others. I came to know more and more about Louie from brief reports smuggled out of prison and from the trickles of political prisoners being released from time to time. Because they were imprisoned separately, Louie and Coni must have felt like Abelard and Heloise who pined for each other from two convents.
Soon after their release in the latter half of 1974, Julie and I met them for the first time in Nueva Ecija. From the very outset, we noticed that Louie was determined to fight the Marcos fascist dictatorship. He was full of useful information and was eager to work on concrete projects and produce results. We had subsequent meetings as well as communications, extending to the years of 1975 and 1976. At each meeting, we spent several hours discussing the situation and what could be done.
We covered such important topics as strengthening Task Force Detainees (TFD), revitalizing the Christians for National Liberation (CNL), persuading the bishops to take up the human rights issue, generating a workers' strike movement, promoting the Signs of the Times and other publications, reinforcing the National Democratic Front and the National Liaison Commission, gathering support for the people's army, organizing a group of foreign friends for special tasks, raising resources for a social research project related to facilitating mass base building, and so on.
Then as now, Louie was always enthusiastic to take on a wide variety of tasks and he succeeded in carrying these out. He played an important role in strengthening TFD and revitalizing CNL. He was close enough to Cardinal Sin to be able to convince him to take up the human rights cases of Arce, Alvarez and others. He was a moving spirit behind the Signs of the Times, which pioneered in open printed opposition to the fascist dictatorship.
He gave key support to the La Tondena strike, which ignited the nationwide strike of workers in 300 work places. He participated in the work of organizing the workers in the garments industry. He continued to support the struggle of the workers in the sugar industry and helped to develop the foundation for a nationwide federation of sugar workers. He excelled in preparing educational materials for arousing, organizing and mobilizing the workers in the sugar industry.
He assisted in the work of the National Democratic Front (NDF) and National Liaison Committee (CNL). He was successful in organizing the Frogmen that proved to be good at communications on a wide scale and raising resources. Just as Louie contributed personal resources in the Visayas in previous years, he would contribute an even more significant amount, which was used to help strengthen the people's army in the Cordillera. He did not know where his contribution went until I told him much later. He was also instrumental in realizing the short-lived Project Nueva Ecija, which yielded a model questionnaire for social investigation in the countryside.
In the years 1974 to 1976 the armed revolutionary movement was still in the process of increasing the number of guerrilla zones and expanding them and had only few wide areas with sufficient consolidation for basing the central leadership. Our location had to change quickly quite often, from region to region, in ways that the enemy could not trace or predict. Louie and some of the Frogmen were helpful, when my office had to move away from Nueva Ecija and later on from Pampanga or when I moved in and out of guerrilla zones or get out of an enemy encirclement. There were also occasions when I had to be in the national capital region or pass through this region in order to reach Southern Tagalog.
The central leadership of the Party decided in 1976 to assign Louie and Coni to do international work on behalf of the NDF in Europe. We gave them their final briefing in a barrio in Mexico, Pampanga. The NDF office abroad was meant to operate like the overseas offices of the Palestine Liberation Organization, South African National Congress and other national liberation movements in disseminating information about the Filipino people's revolutionary struggle and seeking moral and material support from a wide range of forces.
From Europe, Louie was in frequent touch with me. He made important proposals for the NDF to become strong in the Philippines and to be consequently effective abroad. As a consequence of his proposals, the program of the NDF was elaborated on and efforts were made to expand the table of organizations of the NDFP. Louie was most instrumental in organizing and launching the Filipino People's Tribunal that tried the Marcos fascist dictatorship in Antwerp in 1981.
Since 1977, he has been able to direct or inspire the organization of overseas Filipinos and the building of solidarity organizations among the people in Europe. He has made so many representations on behalf of the NDF to other national liberation movements, political parties, people's organizations, governments and government agencies. As a result, the NDFP to this day is in active solidarity with a broad range of positive and friendly forces on an international scale.
When I was in prison from 1977 to 1986, Louie and Coni would send word to me whenever possible and would try to extend help. Soon after I went out of prison, Julie and I decided to make a global university lecture tour. Louie and Coni welcomed us in The Netherlands and helped us do the Europe-wide tour. They were most helpful when we had to stay somewhat longer in Europe and then when I decided to apply for political asylum after the cancellation of my Philippine passport.
To this day, they have been so supportive every time I become the target of propaganda attacks. I am subjected to slander campaigns several times a year. The worst have been those related to preventing me from getting asylum and those related to my being on the terrorist list. Louie has been active and effective in getting for me the necessary political and legal support.
The attacks are not only in the form propaganda and character assassination but also physical threats, such as the offer of 1 million pesos for my head under the Aquino regime or the dispatch of a hit team to the Netherlands by the Estrada regime or the current death threat from the Arroyo regime, which is related to the proposal of Norberto Gonzales for my assassination in a national security meeting of the Arroyo cabinet and the reported increase of the reward money for my head to 10 million pesos . Louie has been active not only in exposing the threats but also in seeing to it that I am physically secure and in taking the risks with me.
After mentioning the concrete acts of concern for me from Louie, which show how good a person he is and for which my entire family and I are thankful to him, let me cite to you how he has brilliantly and courageously stood up for the correct ideological, political and organizational line in the Second Great Rectification Movement in opposition to the revisionist, empiricist and dogmatic subjectivists, the "Left" and Right opportunists and the organizational liberals and commandists. He has been a strong and well-grounded pillar standing against the contra weeds that sprouted among us sometime ago.
As chairperson of the NDFP negotiating panel, Louie has been the diplomat and negotiator par excellence. He is firm on principle, ever upholding the integrity of the revolutionary forces and people. He always keeps himself well-informed on policies and issues. He knows well the ins and outs of the position that he and his panel take and therefore he knows his sphere of competence and discretion and when and how to be flexible in policy. He can present the justness and reasonableness of the position and rebuff anything that is clearly unjust and unreasonable from the other side. He is also prudent and knows when to consult with others, when there is something that needs further thought and deliberation by the panel or consideration and decision by the NDFP principal no less.
I can write or speak volumes about my working relationship and comradeship with Louie since 1987 here in The Netherlands, especially if I mix serious statements of our work and all kinds of anecdotes. But I must exercise prudence and have time discipline and must give others a chance to give their own testimonies and reflections about Louie. Thus, I have gone fast forward and very summary about his role in the SGRM and in the peace negotiations with the GRP.
In conclusion, we wish Louie to stay in good health, be happy with Coni and all others and continue the work in the service of the people. Louie has made outstanding contributions to the advancement of the Filipino people's struggle for national liberation and democracy against US imperialism and the local exploiting classes. But he will make further and greater contributions in so many years to come. Red salute to Comrade Luis Jalandoni!
Mabuhay Ka Louie!
Ibayong kumilos para sa rebolusyong Pilipino!
Mabuhay ang proletaryado at sambayanang Pilipino!###