WritingsMessagesRemembering and Honoring Chito Sta. Romana

Remembering and Honoring Chito Sta. Romana

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By Jose Maria Sison
April 20, 2022
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Julie and I and our children wish to express our sincerest condolences to the family of Chito Sta. Romana, especially his wife Nancy and their children Norman and Christopher. We are deeply saddened by his passing away. At the same time, we are comforted by his achievements as an intellectual, journalist, academic and public servant.

We have long known Chito Sta. Romana since the late 1960s when he came to our home in Quezon City to invite me to speak on the national democratic movement in La Salle in his capacity as the student council president.

On his own, he had read and studied my articles and speeches and discussed with his fellow student activists the revolutionary history, patriotic and democratic ideas and activities that characterized the youth movement, Kabataang Makabayan.

We noticed immediately that he had a brilliant mind, an exceptional ability to have rapport with people whom he met, the desire to serve the people and continue the unfinished Philippine revolution, his sense of humility and his militancy.

After Julie and I went underground in early 1969, we kept in touch with Chito through Charlie del Rosario and Fidel Agcaoili, and we were happy to observe his continuing commitment to the national democratic movement and his increasing activism and leadership.

He stood tall and militant during the First Quarter Storm of 1970 and became the leader of the Movement for a Democratic Philippines as the crisis of the semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system rapidly worsened and the Marcos regime became increasingly reactionary and violent.

He was among the mass leaders of the national democratic movement whom Marcos invited to the presidential palace in early February 1969 in a futile attempt to discourage the upsurge of the mass movement.

But Marcos was obsessed with using state terrorism and imposing a fascist dictatorship on the people in line with his lust for power and bureaucratic loot in the service of US imperialism and the local exploiting classes of the comprador big bourgeoisie and the landlord class.

While apparently a student delegation of the Movement for a Democratic Philippines headed by Chito could freely make a study tour in China in 1971, it could no longer return to the Philippines and had to stay in China for an indefinite period of time because of the continuous deterioration of the political situation in the Philippines.

Chito and the other student leaders in the delegation had to stay on in China, observed developments in the Chinese situation, pursued further academic studies, integrated themselves with other Filipinos in China and found jobs commensurate to their qualifications.

Chito was among those Filipino exiles who had the qualifications to attain high positions in the branches of US mass media in China. He had a mastery of both the English and Chinese languages a rich knowledge of Chinese history and current affairs, competence as a journalist and contacts with the Chinese news makers and sources. He became a long-time Beijing bureau chief of the American Broadcasting Corporation.

It is understandable that after his retirement from his job and return to the Philippines, he was highly regarded as an academic and journalistic expert on China, he actually promoted Philippine-Chinese studies and relations and he was eventually appointed Philippine ambassador to China.

After the overthrow of the Marcos fascist dictatorship in 1986, Julie and I had the opportunity to have a happy reunion with Chito in the home and yard of the late Behn Cervantes and elsewhere in Manila. We met him in Beijing in 1987 and 1988 while we were on our world university tour. The three of us had ample time to exchange ideas and evaluate what we had done to serve the people.

As far as we know, Chito had no regrets about the socialist perspective of the new democratic revolution and was desirous of the socialist future for the Filipino people. And he was critical of the phenomenon of a new monopoly bourgeoisie taking over political power in former socialist societies and privatizing the social wealth created and accumulated by the toiling masses of workers and peasants.

He joined the incumbent government in the Philippines, as ambassador to China. But he was among the honest and efficient officials and government employees who remained upright, rendered public service and was ever desirous of a social system enjoying national and social liberation from US imperialism and the local exploiting classes.

We can say much more than we have done here to remember and honor Chito. But time and circumstances limit what we can say. It is appropriate that others who love him have the chance to remember and honor him on this occasion. What we can unanimously agree on is that Chito Sta. Romana has done his best to serve his motherland and the people and scored exemplary achievements.###

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