Biyernes, Hulyo 3, 2009

A Maverick Proletariat

by Jose Torres Jr.
The Sunday Paper, Vol. 2, No. 17, Feb. 11-17, 2001

He lived a life of a revolutionary and died in a fashion almost always fated for someone like him. In his death, Filemon "Ka Popoy" Lagman, inspired by his native and seemingly uncontrollable "extreme militant tendencies" left behind a trail of ideological chaos that has thrown the Left in disarray.

His ideas definitely stirred not only the progressive sector, but the whole society itself. His style of presenting - and insisting - his ideas on those around him was invariably described as "convincing," "obnoxious" and "downright arrogant."

Ka Popoy has many images to different people that elicit a whole spectrum of emotions from admiration to disgust. It was a testament of the complexity of his character.

His allies say he is a big loss to the progressive movement. And even his critics admit that Lagman's "extreme militant tendencies" played a very important role in the development of the Filipino people's ideological consciousness.

Ricardo Reyes, vice president of the party-list Akbayan and former secretary general of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CCP), where Lagman once belonged, said the Philippine Left would have been different without Lagman.

With the death of Ka Popoy, the progressive movement has lost "a superb organizer and a very fertile mind" for developing the workers' movement from a worker's perspective, Reyes told The Sunday Paper. He said Lagman's dedication to the labor movement is his "distinct contribution."

With Lagman's brutal death in the hands of his assassins "the working class lost a very vocal and a very ardent advocate."

Here are some of Reyes thoughts about Popoy as told to The Sunday Paper:

"More than any activist coming from the ranks of the intellectuals in his generation, he is the most conscious about developing workers' lives. Popoy viewed the Philippine revolution and Philippine society from a framework very close to the Leninist thought; that's why he was able, and made it a point, to draw the line, and even to criticize all the postulates of the Marxist-Leninist-Mao Zedong Thought."

"He expounded his thoughts through articles he wrote, although most of the time he did it through vocal, argumentative and very forceful debates. He will always be remembered for his positive and negative traits. Both the positive and negative in him, however, were striking."

"He was always criticized for rubbing people the wrong way and for his abrasiveness and his style of argumentation, which is to crush his opponent to defeat."

"He distinguished himself as an urban organizer. He seriously studied the urban movement as a whole and conceptualized strategies and tactics. In the '80s, he was very strong in pushing for insurrection within the general framework of the Marxist-Leninist-Mao Zedong ideology."

"As a leader, he exuded great quantities of a revolutionary, believing in what he was doing and exuding confidence. He exuded it in great quantities and was able to capture a large followings."

"He was also an intellectual and he always made it a point that his ideas were well-crafted ideologically and theoretically in order to agitate."

"He can be a very good agitator depending on the setting and circumstances. But mainly he was most distinguished as an agitator within the organization. He is not the crowd agitator type, but in committee meeting, he is one. Given more time, however, he might be able to develop the skills necessary of a street agitator."

"I have not yet seen anybody who comes quite close to his ability and passion. I hope there will be. I hope that persons should come from the working class, from the organic intellectuals among the working classes, from his followers."

"We had many differences. I was one among the few that he always see to it to distinguish himself from. We have very substantial differences in our approach to looking at the Philippine problems, strategies and even modes of organizing and interpersonal relationships. Maybe we had different upbringings as individuals and in the movement, so we have also differing choices."

"He was among the first in the CPP who really had a better appreciation of the legal parliamentary struggle, closer to its actual potential, although he was not original in pushing for the urban guerilla strategy. He was, however, the one who advocated the idea of the insurrectional potential of the urban masses and its insurrectional prospects. He has a keener appreciation for it."

"His lack of appreciation of the impact of the countryside and the Filipino feudal culture on the progressive movement was one of his weaknesses. Maybe it was because of his exposure and experiences."

"His other weakness is on how he looks at the mode of the Philippine economy. He underestimated the semi-feudal character of Philippine society. His favorite term is transition to capitalism. But I believe that experience teaches us that it is not a stage that would end in its logical conclusion of capitalism as Popoy wanted to believe in."

"He died a revolutionary to the end. When we left the CPP, we defined a revolutionary in its classical sense. A revolutionary is not only that who advocates armed struggle or follows a certain ideological line. A revolutionary is one who looks at the problem, and as he encounters more tools for understanding development believes in it and moves for a radical structuring of the empowerment process."

"A revolutionary is one who really breaks the structures of the disempowerment of the masses. Empowerment is not only about rights but also access to capital, land and even information. He continues to believe in the socialist dream before it was brought to a level of canons."

"We will miss Popoy because it's different if there's a Popoy in the movement. There's always somebody who questions and do something different. It's a different experience if there is one who plays a maverick role, that's Popoy."

A Revolutionary to the end

by Jose Torres Jr.
The Sunday Paper, Vol. 2, No. 17, Feb. 11-17, 2001

He was a dreamer until the end. He dreamt of a society where those who toil could taste the sweetness of the fruits of their sweat and blood. He was a rebel, too, a revolutionary who wanted change. Filemon Lagman wanted a world where the voice of the working class is heard and their dreams fulfilled.

In the last few days of his life until the very day of his ambush. Lagman was discussing with union leaders the formation of the Partido ng Manggagawa. The day of his burial, February 12, will also be the day the party is born.

The Partido ng Manggagawa, however, should not be confused with the clandestine Partido ng Manggagawang Pilipino (PMP), which was allegedly founded by Lagman on January 30, 1999. The PMP was formed by former underground cadres who earlier left or were expelled by the Maoist Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) due to iedological differences.

Parliamentary struggle

The Partido ng Manggagawa is Lagman's legacy to the working class whom he served from more than three decades. Lagman once said that although he views "bourgeois elections" as nothing but a periodic opportunity for workers to choose who among the ruling class will be given the chance to fool and rob them, "I find nothing inconsistent in participating in the bougeois parliamentary struggle for the purpose of advancing the mass struggle."

For instance, the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), anothetr labor group formed by Lagman, upholds the mass struggle as its "basic form of struggle." The group, however, said they are also prepared to participate, in a "flexible way," in the electoral struggle "to develop the parliamentary flank of the mass movement."

Lagman played an important role in the formation of Sanlakas. He described it as "a broad coalition for the people's general welfare, for nationalist and democratic struggle, and the people's legislative and political agenda." Sanlakas won a seat in the House of Representatives in the 1998 elections.

"We expect it to develop its own initiative and integrity as an organization independent of the working class and political forces within the coalition," Lagman said in an earlier interview.

Although the BMP exerted its influence to support Sanlakas' political line and program, the labor group made it a point to uphold Sanlakas' organizational structure and principles. Lagman believed that Sanlakas could only be effective if it can fully develop its own positive identity, dynamism and spontaneity in the general democratic movement and not allow "conspirational organizations" to manipulate its organizational processes.

"We would like to see Sanlakas develop as a major political force in the people's struggle for freedom and democracy," said Lagman.

This coming May, Sanlakas would participate in the elections as a representative of a broader sector of society while the newly formed Partido ng Manggagawa would mainly carry the issues of the labor sector.

Popoy's trust rating

Lagman worked in the underground movement for years, but he gained popularity comparable to that of a minor Cabinet Secretary.

In 1998, a survey made by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) revealed that 37 percent of the public had heard of, or had ever read about, Popoy Lagman. SWS's Mahar Mangahas said that would make the revolutionary, "not quite nationally famous, but moderately well-known."

The SWS had the data in its archive because Popoy's brother, then senatorial aspirant Edcel Lagman, commissioned the survey group to obtain it. What Edcel basically wanted, Mangahas said, was to find out whether the fact of Popoy's being his brother was a burden to his bid for the Senate.

SWS analysis showed that Edcel was getting better-than-average proportions of votes from people who trusted Popoy and even from those merely neutral about Popoy. From those who positively distrusted Popoy, Edcel's votes were simply average. So there was no loss to Edcel, and everything to gain, from Popoy's becoming better known.

In the said survey, the public's regard for Popoy was rather neutral. Among those who knew him, 30 percent said they trusted him and 28 percent said they did not, for a net trust rating of merely +2. A plurality of 36 percent chose to sit on the fence between trust and distrust, and the remainder did not answer at all.

Mangahas explained that using the net trust score, Popoy appears to be relatively trusted in Luzon (net trust of +10 in the northern half and +11 in the southern half) but relatively distrusted in Metro Manila (-8), Visayas (-6), and Mindanao (-3). As might be expected, he is relatively trusted by the D and E socio-economic classes (net trust of +5 in both cases), but relatively distrusted by the ABC classes (-8).

"I would say that, for a person formerly with an underground rebel movement, having a neutral public image is already quite favorable," Mangahas said.

A revolutionary life

Lagman's revolutionary life started when he quits his studies at the University of the Philippines and went underground during the martial law years. Lagman rose from the ranks to the chairmanship of the Manila-Rizal regional committee of the CPP in mid-70s.

Under Lagman's leadership, the committee won a certain level of autonomy, even devising new and creative ways of pursuing their Leftist ideology. He developed a formidable "united front" with the so-called middle forces. CPP higher-ups, however, ousted Lagman from the Manila-Rizal committee and reassigned him to the Bicol region.

By the mid-80s, Lagman was sent back to Manila and regained the leadership of the committee. He later declared urban warfare urban warfare against the Marcos dictatorship using the urban hit squad Alex Boncayao Brigade (ABB).

By the early '90s, Lagman and most of the leading cadres of the Manila-Rizal committee decided to breakaway from the mainstream CPP. Among those considered by the CPP leadership as expelled included Lagman; Arturo Tabara, head of the Visayas commission; Romulo Kintanar, former chief of the New People's Army; and Ricardo Reyes, former CPP secretary general. A war of words among these individuals ensued and lasts even to this day.

The groups that bolted the CPP in 1993 were mainly the Lagman faction and the Tabara faction in the Western Visayas. There were other smaller factions, such as the one headed by Ike delos Reyes in the Moro area of Central Mindanao, but these groups tended to gravitate around the main ones. Another faction surfaced in Central Luzon in 1997.

The CPP said Lagman could swagger because he was able to gather some trade unions under the BMP "and co-opt some organizations in urban poor communities."

Lagman and Tabara, meanwhile, tried to hold common activities in the second half of 1993. But the formation of a common political party could not get beyond idle talk, said a CPP leader. An attempt to form "a national coordinating body" in late 1993 failed because Lagman and Tabara wanted all the other factions to join them. In early 1994, the breakaway groups began to go their separate ways.

Lagman and Tabara continued to look for common grounds and entered into an alliance. Consequently, the Tabara faction adopted Sanlakas and formed its chapters in Cebu, Negros and Panay. Tabara's Revolutionary Proletarian Army (RPA) and Lagman's ABB were later merged. The breakaway group from the Moro area also adopted Sanlakas and the RPA.

The Revolutionary Workers Party (RWP), which Tabara launched in the Visayas, was supposed to be formed in Metro Manila with Lagman. But the plan was snuffed out by the breakup of the Tabara-Lagman alliance.

"Too smug about the strength of his faction and his control over it, Lagman was unaware that he stood on shifting sand. Too occpied with dealing with politicians and capitalists, he found out too late that even some of his trusted lieutenants had abandoned him," an article in the NDF website says.

One of those who deserted Lagman was Nilo dela Cruz, the alleged ABB head. Dela Cruz initiated the formation of Alab Katipunan in 1998. The other blocs that parted ways with Lagman, however, did not join Alab Katipunan.

Lagman suffered another blow when Tabara sided with Dela Cruz. Consequently, the Tabara faction reportedly disenfranchised Sanlakas in the Visayas. Some elements, however, remained with Lagman's Sanlakas after the Tabara faction split in 1998. Tabara and Dela Cruz retained the RPA-ABB alliance.

As if these were not enough, Lagman's "theoretician," Sonny Melencio, and a youth group (the smallest faction of Kamalayan) also abandoned him in 1998. Melencio set up the Socialist League. Later, the Socialist League initiated the formation of the Socialist Party of Labor. The SPL included the Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Proletaryo (RPP, a faction of the Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas), a faction of the Cordillera People's Liberation Army (now a government paramilitary group) and a faction of Partido Demokratiko Sosyalista ng Pilipinas (PDSP).

"These splits and realignments greatly weakened the Lagman faction," said the NDF article. "He can no longer mobilize a sizable number of workers and urban poor residents. Neither can he make any more armed threat to politicians and capitalists," it added.

Reinventing the labor movement

But Lagman's magic continued. When he formed the Brotherhood of Union Presidents (BUP), which boasts of a membership of 1,000 union presidents, observers said the labor leader, "disrupted the established structure of top federations." He was also described as having envisioned "the rebirth of a militant trade union movement in the country."

To prove his point, Lagman and his BMP helped organize the 120,000-strong 1996 May Day demonstration in Metro Manila, the largest under the administration of then President Fidel V. Ramos. The rally was later followed by a strike demanding tax reforms, in which 160,000 workers participated.

The mobilization was sponsored by the BMP, the Fraternity of Union Presidents of the Philippines (KPUP) and the National Confederation of Labor (NCL), all influenced by Lagman.

While the NCL is a mass-based national trade union center, the KPUP claims to be a grassroots organization of 747 local union presidents. The BMP traces its origins to the split within the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), when the entire regional chapter in Metro Manila split away in 1993. This occured during the same time when the major split took place in the CPP.

In an interview with the progressive Green Left Weekly magazine, Lagman said he was confident that the labor movement in the country is "on the upswing." He said the revolutionary movement has been mustering its "second wind" with a strong working class character.

Explaining what he believed where the changes in "organizational structures of the working class movement," Lagman said Filipino workers are still greatly handicapped in their struggle for their rights and welfare.

More than 85 percent of the labor force in the country is still unorganized. Unionized labor is deeply fragmented while most federations remain under the stranglehold of "mendicant and mediocre leaders," Lagman explained. He added that the level of unionism has stagnated at the factory level. "It cannot seem to advance to organizing struggles along industrial lines."

He said it was the single most difficult objective limitation of the labor movement.

Lagman hit even the so-called progressive wing of the workers movement that, he said, failed to upgrade the backwardness of trade unionism.

"After decades of labor organizing, it failed as a motive force in the unionization and the unification of labor. It pays more attention to its factional rivalry with conservative trade union centers while paying lip service to trade union unity, which is pivotal in upgrading the labor movement. It relies excessively and almost exclusively on militant collective struggles, ignoring the objective limitations arising from the backward developmentof trade unionism," he said.

Lagman wished that the emergence of groups like theKPUP, NCL, BMP and later the Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) would become the start of an "all-out effort of a new breed of labor leaders and organizations whose aim is to reinvent the labor movement and radically change the structures and complexion of trade unionism in this era of imperialist, neo-liberal globalization."

Lagman wanted to form a "revolutionary socialist, legal mass organizations" which would assume a pivotal role in advancing the "class struggle and the general democratic movement."

With BMP in mind, Lagman said the center should distinguish itself, as a mass organization, from a political party in assuming a vanguard role in the socialist and democratic struggles.

He said the BMP considers the advancement of the democratic struggle its most immediate political task in the struggle for socialism. However, Lagman also believes that in advancing what he called the people's democratic movement, "the motive and decisive force is the working class movement." He emphasized the necessity of the concentration of forces in organizing the working class.

Lagman said that for the working class to assume a leading role in the democratic struggle of the people, "they must view this struggle as a necessary condition for socialism. They must understand the struggle for democracy from a socialist perspective, and therefore, the necessity of socialist awakening of the mass of workers.

He pinpointed to specific projects that his group has undertaken - the workers' school, workers' magazine and workers' radio - which he said primarily serve political consolidation. He also dreamt of a workers' law firm whose aim is to upgrade the legal flank of the trade union movement and a workers development bank that would become a major effort in undertaking the economic struggle.

Onward with the dream

Filemon "Popoy" Lagman died dreaming. He was a few days away from fulfilling one of his most treasured wishes - the establishment of the Partido ng Manggagawa, the workers very own political party that is preparing to participate in the coming mid-term elections.

Sanlakas Rep. Renato Magtubo believed Ka Popoy did not die in vain.

"We will make sure that his very last project - the Partido ng Manggagawa - will be a success," he said. Ka Popoy firmly believed that union presidents should be the voice and representative of the working class in the halls of Congress. His followers said they will not fail him.

Huwebes, Hulyo 2, 2009

Suspects and Victims

by Annie Ruth Sabangan and Luis Gorgonio
The Sunday Paper, Vol. 2, No. 17, Feb. 11-17, 2001

The kind of life he led invites the kind of death he suffered.

Not even the supposed "safety" that the University of the Philippines, which prides itself to be the bastion of activism, was enough to protect Filemon "Ka Popoy" Lagman from the fury of his assassins on that fateful Tuesday afternoon.

It was not totally unexpected. Ka Popoy was a revolutionary, a man who fought the powers-that-be for many years, a man who wanted to change the system, a man who made a lot of enemies.

He may have known that death would come so soon. He was with his son Dante and partner Michelle walking towards the Bahay ng Alumni building along Balagtas Street inside the University of the Philippines Campus when the killers came.

Gunmen pumped four bullets into the labor leader's head before fleeing, leaving Ka Popoy sprawling, soaked with his own blood, on the pavement a meter away from the building's main stairway.

Ka Popoy's death has put everybody - from the left, center to the right of the political spectrum - into a situation where everybody could be both suspects and victims.

In and out of the underground Leftist movement, the maverick, tenacious and abrasive leader gained so many enemies. The mainstream Left led by exiled Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Ma. Sison branded him as "incorrigible" rebel when the former rejected Sison's call to rectify his "insurrectionist" behavior and reaffirm the Maoist revolutionary strategy of a protracted people's war.

As founder of the urban hit squad Alex Boncayao Brigade (ABB), Lagman eliminated "fascist tormentors" from the military and the police. He brought agony to the "enemies of the people" - the usurers, capitalists and abusive local officials.

Seen as one of the biggest headaches of government, Lagman was put behind bars twice in the mid-90s: first for a murder complaint and second to prevent him from causing the country embarrassment during the Apec summit in 1996.

Even when he decided to work "above ground," Lagman was not spared from the indignation of those who thought that the issues he espoused - increased salaries for workers and the improvement of the plight of the urban poor - were mere form of extortions.

Such was the interpretation of Popoy's detractors when he entered into a deal with the PEA-AMARI on behalf of slum dwellers and when he helped workers at the Philippine Airlines during a labor dispute with management.

Added to Lagman's long list of enemies is the pro-Estrada clique whom he, along with other Leftist groups, brought down through the Edsa II phenomenon. The Arroyo administration could also be another suspect after Lagman's Sanlakas and BMP called for the ouster of the newly installed chief executive.

"It's payback time." This could probably be what was in the mind of Ka Popoy's killers. As he himself said a week before he died, "the likes of Popoy Lagman has only two destinations - in prison or in the graveyard."

While it could be ascertained that the mastermind of the murder did it out of revulsion, it is hard to pin down the perpetrator due to the number of suspects with varying motives. As what Ka Popoy's brother, former Rep. Edcel Lagman said, "We are not excluding any persons or any groups. We will have to make a thorough investigation."

Lagman had a rift with Sison and Nilo Dela Cruz, his former comrade in the Manila-Rizal committee of the CPP. He also caught the ire of the capitalists and the underworld, the military and the police, the government, and the Estrada administration. Each of these groups has one reason or another to silence a "stubborn" mass leader who refused to make compromises.

As there are many suspects, there are also many theories that try to explain Lagman's killing. First, Lagman could have been a victim of the factions in the Leftist movement. There are two suspects under this theory: Sison's New People's Army and Dela Cruz's RPA-ABB.

Both groups believe, however, the murder was the handiwork of the military to isolate the progressive block from wielding influence in government.

They claimed that Lagman's death could be perceived as a message to other Leftist leaders to "make it easy" on the Arroyo administration.

Crispin Beltran, head of Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), said Lagman's "Resign All" call during the height of the campaign to oust former President Estrada was unpopular.

"HIs and his group's follow-up on the line, to wit: 'Gloria is not the people's choice,' and their anti-trapo campaign could have generated a political backlash."

Both Sison and Dela Cruz, however, accused each other of Lagman's murder. Sison said Dela Cruz might have settled a score with Lagman after their previous disagreements over the control of protection money.

Dela Cruz countered that Sison's group included Lagman in its order of battle for years.

"Who has a track record in eliminating former comrades who refused to follow the dictates of that man from The Netherlands? Who is very intolerant of their comrades' different views on how to wage a revolution? Isn't it that it was Sison's group who ordered the execution of Fr. Conrado Balweg and Bartolome Quizon?"

Other members of the RPA-ABB claimed that Sison's allegation could be part of a "smear campaign" to prevent them from entering into peace negotiations with the Arroyo administration.

Satur Ocampo, former spokesman of the National Democratic Front (NDF), however, said that "only a bitter war of words erupted, nobody was executed" when the split occurred in the Leftist movement.

"We also had tactical alliances with the other factions during EDSA II, thus I think there is really no basis for them to hurl those accusations."

Other militant groups and people from government also theorized that Lagman's killing might have been a signal for a start of destabilization plot by rightist elements against the Arroyo administration. They said that the incident was very similar to what happened after Corazon Aquino was catapulted into power after the 1986 Edsa phenomenon when labor leader Rolando Olalia and youth activist Lean Alejandro were killed.

Military sources also flaunted the idea that Lagman's killing could have been the handiwork of hit squads organized by pro-Estrada groups to destabilize the government. These groups are allegedly composed of the remnants of the Kuratong Baleleng gang and other criminals from Mindanao.

The original plan, military sources said, was to launch a coup d’état against the Arroyo administration. When the plot failed, they decided to create hit squads that would sow terror in urban areas.

If there are many suspects, there are many victims, too. Lagman's family, of course, is the first to suffer the pain. The working class whose aspirations were articulated and fought for by Ka Popoy would be second. And, of course, the many factions in the progressive movement, whose wounds from the purges and splits have yet to heal, can become casualties.

Pagkakaisa - akda ni Ka Popoy Lagman

ni Ka Popoy Lagman

Nalathala ang sulating ito sa magasing TAMBULI ng Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), Disyembre 1998

Sinumang nag-iisip ng tunay na pagbabagong panlipunan ay dapat lutasin ang saligang paraan kung paano kakamtin ang malawak na pagkakaisa ng prinsipal na pwersa ng pagbabagong ito – ang uring manggagawa.

Hanggang ngayon, malaking mayorya ng manggagawang Pilipino ay hindi organisado kahit sa unang grado ng makauring pagkakaisa sa anyo ng lokal na unyunismo. Samantalang ang manipis at hati-hating hanay ng organisadong paggawa ay nahaharap naman sa lumalaking banta ng anihilasyon sa panahong ito ng makabagong globalisasyon.

Sa ganitong kalagayan, ang tungkulin ay hindi lang paano ang saligang paraan ng pag-oorganisa kundi paano ito mapapabilis para tumugon sa mabigat na hamon ng kasalukuyang pakikibaka.


Di dapat ipagkibit ng balikat ang mabagal na pag-oorganisa. Hindi ito simpleng problema ng kakapusan ng sapat na dami ng mga bihasang organisador. Ang mismong kakapusang ito ay resulta ng parehas na problemang siya ring dahilan ng mabagal na pag-unlad ng pagkakaisa ng masang manggagawa.

Dapat nating repasuhin ang nakagawiang mga paraan ng pag-oorganisa. Ito’y hindi supisyente at epektibong nakatutugon sa pangangailangang malawakang pagkaisahin ang masang manggagawa bilang isang uri.

Ang tinutukoy natin ay ang pag-oorganisa sa anyo ng lokal na mga unyon para sa pang-ekonomyang pakikibaka. Ang pag-oorganisang pang-unyon at pakikibakang pang-ekonomya ay ginawa nating nag-iisang daan at natatanging paraan para pasimulan ang pagkakaisa ng mga manggagawa.

Liwanagin natin na wala tayong anumang intensyong maliitin o bawasan ang importansya ng pang-unyong pag-oorganisa at pakikibaka. Isang makamandag na kapitalistang propaganda ang inilalakong pananaw na lipas na ang unyunismo sa panahong ito ng globalisasyon.

Ito’y nananatiling pinakasaligang organisasyon ng uring manggagawa at pinakamabisang proteksyon ng masang anakpawis sa kapitalistang pang-aapi laluna sa panahong ito ng globalisasyon.

Pinakamalinaw na katibayan ng nagpapatuloy nitong bisa’t halaga ay ang paghuhumiyaw at paggugumiit ng sektor ng kapital at nga kapitalistang estado na sagkaan at sugpuin ang unyonismo dahil balakid ito sa landas at batas ng globalisasyon.

Ang ating pinupuna ay hindi ang mismong unyonismo at ang importansya nito kundi ang nakagawiang paraan na halos idinadaan at isinasakay ang buong tungkulin ng makauring pag-oorganisa sa kaparaanan ng unyonismo.

Kung tayo’y ordinaryong mga unyonista na ang nilalayon lang ay mag-unyon, natural lang na ikonsentra ang buong atensyon at paraan sa unyonismo. Kaso’y hindi tayo simpleng mga unyonistang ang nilalayon ay simpleng mapabuti ang kalagayan ng pagiging sahurang-alipin ng manggagawa at makipagtawaran na lang sa presyo’t benepisyo ng pagpapaalipin sa kapital.

Ang pinakalayunin natin ay wakasan ang sistemang ito ng sahurang pang-aalipin, wakasan ang pagiging kalakal ng lakas-paggawa at wakasan ang paghahari ng kapital sa lipunan sapagkat narito ang pinakaugat ng kahirapan at kaapihan ng uring manggagawa at masang anakpawis.

Para sa layuning ito, ang pinakasaligang rekisito ay mapagkaisa ang masang manggagawa bilang uri. At magaganap lamang ang makauring pagkakaisang ito kung sila’y magkakaroon ng kamalayan na sila’y nabubuhay sa kapitalistang lipunan bilang isang depinidong uri na may depinidong makauring mga interes.

Narito ang malaking depekto ng ating saligang paraan ng pag-oorganisa. Nawawaglit sa ating kamalayan ang pinakalayunin ng ating pag-oorganisa – ang palawakin at palalimin ang makauring pagkakaisa ng masang manggagawa. Kung mulat tayo sa layuning ito, sa bawat sandali ng ating pagkilos, di mangyayaring maiimbudo ang pag-oorganisa sa kaparaanan ng pag-uunyon, at siguradong ikokombina ito sa iba pang paraan.

Ang ibang paraan na ito, na siyang mas esensyal na paraan ng makauring pag-oorganisa, ay ang pampulitikang pag-oorganisa, ang pag-oorganisa sa masang manggagawa bilang pwersang pampulitika. Ito ang tunay na kahulugan ng pag-oorganisa sa masang manggagawa bilang uri.


Ilang daang libong manggagawa sa Pilipinas ang organisado sa mga unyon samantalang milyun-milyon, humigit-kumulang sa 95 porsyento ng uring manggagawa ang hindi organisado.

Ilan sa kanila ang mulat-sa-uri? Ibig sabihin, paano ang turing ng isang manggagawa sa kanyang sarili bilang isang manggagawa, paano ang kanyang tingin sa pagiging manggagawa sa umiiral na lipunan.

Mabuti pa ang kapitalista sapagkat malinaw ang kanyang turing at tingin sa uring manggagawa. Alam ng bawat kapitalista na para umandar at lumago ang kanyang negosyo, hindi sapat na mayroon siyang mga makina, materyales, atbp., bilang puhunan. Balewala ang lahat ng ito kung hindi makakatagpo ang kanyang kapital ng lakas-paggawa – ang natatanging kalakal sa mundo na hindi lang nagpapaandar kundi nagpapalago sa kapital. Ang nag-iisang kalakal sa buong mundo na nag-aangkin ng kakayahang lumikha ng halaga. Isang kalakal na habang kinukunsumo ay lumilikha hindi lang ng katumbas ng kanyang presyo kundi ng halagang sobra sa kanyang naging presyo na ang katawagan ay sweldo, ng sobrang halagang ang katawagan ay tubo.

Narito ang sikreto’t mahika, ang kamandag at bagsik, ng sistemang pang-ekonomyang tinatawag na kapitalismo. Kailangan ng kapitalismo ng isang uri sa lipunan na ang tanging ikinabubuhay ay ang pagbebenta ng lakas-paggawa. Ito ay isang seksyon ng populasyon na dapat ay walang ibang ikabubuhay kundi ang magpaupa ng lakas-paggawa. Walang ibang ikabubuhay dahil wala silang anumang pag-aari na maaaring magamit para sa kanilang kabuhayan kundi ang kanilang lakas-paggawa.

Isang lakas-paggawa na nagkakaroon lang ng silbi sa umiiral na sistema kung bibilhin ng may-ari ng kapital at gagamitin sa produksyon. Gagamitin sa produksyon ng mga kalakal na siyang porma ng ekonomya ng tinatawag na kapitalismo. Produksyon ng samu’t saring kalakal na tumutugon sa samu’t saring pangangailangan ng tao. Mga kalakal na pawang likha ng lakas-paggawa. Lakas-paggawang tagapaglikha ng lahat ng kalakal sa mundo pero walang tigil na binabarat ang presyo sa pinakamurang halaga at hinahamak ang dignidad sa pambubusabos. Lakas-paggawa na galing sa pawis at dugo ng mayorya ng tao sa kapitalistang lipunan na ginagawang modernong mga alipin ng iilang panginoong may kapital.

Ngunit hindi ganito ang turing at tingin ng mayorya ng mga manggagawa sa kanilang sarili, sa kanilang paggawa, sa kanilang pagiging manggagawa. Para sa isang manggagawang hindi mulat-sa-uri, ang tingin niya sa pagiging manggagawa ay simpleng hanapbuhay, isang porma ng okupasyon. Ang turing niya sa kanyang mga kapwa manggagawa ay simpleng katrabaho o kaparehas ng trabaho, namamasukan sa may-ari ng kapital para kumita ng sahod o sweldo kapalit ng kanyang pagtatrabaho.

Madaling makita ng mga manggagawa ang katusuhan at kalupitan ng kapitalista. Pero tinatrato nila ito bilang naturalesa ng tao at hindi naturalesa ng kapitalismo. Sa batayang ito, hinahangad niya ang pagkakaroon ng unyon para sa pansariling proteksyon at para ipaglaban ang kanyang mga karaingan. Pero kadalasan ay hanggang dito lang ang kanyang pananaw sa pagkakaisa. Magkaroon ng isang lokal na unyon para pangalagaan ang interes bilang mga empleyado ng isang kompanya – ang kanilang seguridad sa trabaho, ang kanilang regular na umento, ang kanilang mga benepisyo. Ngunit lahat ng ito ay para lang mapabuti ang kanilang kalagayan bilang trabahador ng kapitalista, hindi ang mapalaya ang sarili bilang sahurang-alipin ng kapital.

Ni hindi nga niya tinatanaw ang kanyang sarili bilang alipin ng kapital, bilang alipin ng sahurang sistema ng kapitalismo. Hindi niya tinitingnan ang kanyang sarili bilang alipin dahil ang konsepto niya ng pagiging alipin ay pwersahang pinagtatrabaho. Walang kalayaan, walang karapatan. Napaniwala ang manggagawa na siya’y namasukan sa isang kapitalista nang kusang-loob. Anumang oras na ayaw na niyang magtrabaho para sa kanyang kapitalistang amo, siya ay may ganap na kalayaang umalis at maghanap ng ibang pagkakakitaan. Alam rin niya na mayroon siyang mga karapatang ginagarantiyahan ng mga batas, at mas ang problema’y ang implementasyon ng mga ito.

Ngunit ang hindi niya namamalayan ay ang katotohanang ang ginagarantyahan lang ng mga karapatang ito ay ang kanyang kalayaang paiigihin ang kondisyon ng kanyang pagiging alipin. Hindi ang kalagayang baguhin ang mismong sistemang ito ng modernong pang-aalipin. Totoong hindi siya aliping pag-aari ng isang indibidwal na kapitalista. Ang hindi niya namamalayan ay pag-aari siya ng buong uring kapitalista dahil hangga’t wala siyang ibang pagkakakitaan bukod sa pagpapaupa ng kanyang lakas-paggawa, obligado siyang mamasukan sa ibang kapitalista, obligado siyang magpailalim sa kapangyarihan ng kapital.

Maari ring mangyaring sa sikap o swerte ay makaipon ang isang manggagawa. Makapagpundar ng maliit na negosyo, at sa ganitong paraan, makaahon sa pagiging ordinaryong sahurang manggagawa. Maaring “palarin” na umasenso ang sinumang indibidwal na manggagawa ngunit absolutong hindi pwedeng “umasenso” ang buong uring manggagawa at makawala sa tanikala ng pagiging manggagawa sapagkat anong mangyayari sa kapital kung wala ang paggawa, paanong magkakaroon ng kapitalista kung walang uring manggagawa. Maaring mabuhay ang isang lipunan nang walang uring kapitalista at ito ang sosyalismo, pero hindi pwedeng magkaroon ng kapitalismo nang walang uring anakpawis na panggagalingan ng murang lakas-paggawa.

Narito ang kasagutan kung bakit hindi mabuo ang pagkakaisa ng manggagawang Pilipino. Hangga’t hindi umaabot ang kamalayan ng mga manggagawa sa kanilang pag-iral sa kapitalistang lipunan bilang uri, imposible ang kanilang malawak at matatag na pagkakaisa at pagkakaorganisa bilang pangunahing pwersa ng pagbabagong panlipunan. Hangga’t wala ang ganitong kamalayan sa uri, obhetibong umiiral ang mga manggagawa sa lipunan ngunit hindi masasabing ganap na umiiral bilang uri dahil ito ay dapat mangahulugan ng kamalayan sa pagiging isang uri, kamalayan sa kanilang komunidad ng interes bilang uri.

Maaring maorganisa sa mga lokal na unyon ang mga manggagawa, maaring maorganisa sila sa malalaking pederasyon. Ngunit mananatili pa ring biyak-biyak ang kanilang hanay, mananatiling mailap ang tunay na pagkakaisa ng manggagawang Pilipino hangga’t ang organisadong mga manggagawa ay hindi mulat sa kanilang pag-iral bilang uri, hangga’t hindi ang kamalayang makauri, ang kamalayan sa kanilang makauring mga interes ang nagbibigkis sa kanilang pagkakaisa at pakikibaka.


Ang pagkakaorganisa ng mga manggagawa bilang uri ay di maiiwasang maging pulitikal ang katangian sapagkat ang tunay na kamalayang makauri ay pulitikal ang nilalaman. At ito ang tunay na pinangingilagan ng uring kapitalista at ng kapitalistang estado at ginagawa nila ang lahat ng paraan upang sagkaan ang ganitong pag-unlad ng kilusan ng uring manggagawa. Ang mismong mapanupil na reaksyon ng kapital at estado sa banta ng makauring pagkakaisa ng anakpawis kahit sa porma ng unyonismo ay agad nang nagbibigay ng pulitikal na katangian sa pagkamulat ng manggagawa bilang uri sa kapitalistang lipunan.

Imposibleng hindi maging pulitikal ang makauring pagkamulat ng masang manggagawa bilang uri sapagkat imposibleng matanggap ng manggagawa ang kanyang pagiging kabilang sa isang uri nang hindi nauunawaan ang posisyon ng manggagawa sa sistema ng produksyon ng lipunan. Kapag nailugar niya ang kanyang sarili sa posisyong ito, imposibleng hindi mahagip ng kanyang pananaw ang mapagsamantalang relasyon sa produksyon ng kapitalistang sistema, ang kabuuang katotohanan ng sistema ng sahurang pang-aalipin, ang batas ng paglitaw, pag-unlad at pagbagsak ng kapitalismo bilang isang sistema.

Kung ang pagbubuo ng unyon ang labis na kinasisindakan ng bawat indibidwal na kapitalista, ang kinahihindikan naman ng kapitalistang estado ay ang pampulitikang pagkamulat ng masang manggagawa bilang isang uri, bilang isang pwersang pulitikal na may pulitikal na partido sa pinakauluhan nito. Ang transpormasyon ng kilusan ng uring manggagawa sa isang kilusang pampulitika, ng kaisipang pang-unyon sa kamulatang pampulitika, ng pang-unyong pagkakaisa sa pampulitikang pagkakaisa ng uri ang simula ng paglaya ng uring manggagawa sa kapangyarihan ng kapital – ang paglaya ng kanyang kaisipan mula sa kaisipan ng naghaharing sistema. Hindi lang ang katawan ng manggagawa ang inaalipin ng kapital kundi pati ang kanyang kaisipan. Ang kasunod ng ispiritwal na paglaya ng uring manggagawa ay ang transpormasyon nito sa materyal na pwersang pisikal na magbabagsak sa reaksyonaryong sistema.

Ang pampulitikang pag-oorganisang ito ang nawawaglit at napag-iiwanan sa pagkilos. Nangangarap tayo ng pagdami ng unyonisadong mga manggagawa pero nawawala sa ating isip ang paglago ng kanilang pampulitikang pagkakaorganisa bilang uri. Sa likod ng ating isip ay para bang madali na ang pampulitikang pag-unlad ng mga manggagawa sa batayan ng kanilang pang-unyong pagkamulat. Ito ay may aspeto ng katotohanan ngunit may peligro rin na mabahura sa antas ng unyonismo na siyang nagaganap. Kaswal masyado ang pagtrato natin sa pampulitikang pag-oorganisa habang ang ginagawang krusyal ay ang unyonismo.

Baliktarin natin ang ating pamamaraan sapagkat ito ang tuwid na pamamaraan. Mas sigurado ang pang-unyong pag-unlad ng masang manggagawa kung ito’y nagaganap sa batayan ng pagsulong ng kanilang pampulitikang pag-unlad. Mas dadami ang determinadong mga organisador kung konsolidado ang pampulitikang kamulatan ng mga unyon. Mas gagaan ang pang-araw-araw na pag-aasikaso ng mga unyon kung titining ang kanilang pulitikal na konsolidasyon.

Dapat lamang pag-ibayuhin ang paglawak ng unyonisadong hanay ng mga manggagawa. Bawat unyon na ating maorganisa o maugnayan ay dapat kagyat na asikasuhin ang pampulitikang pagkamulat. Ngunit hindi dapat mangyayaring mapako, maimbudo o mabahura ang pampulitikang pag-oorganisa sa kaparaanan ng unyonismo. Tuklasin at paunlarin natin ang paraan ng pampulitikang pag-oorganisang mabisa at malawakan nating naisasagawa nang independyente sa pag-oorganisang pang-unyon habang tinitiyak na ang pang-unyong pag-oorganisa ay kagyat na naisusulong sa pampulitikang pagkakaisa ng manggagawa.

Kung tutuusin, dapat ay mas madali ang magbuo ng grupo o sirkulong pampulitika ng lima hanggang sampu katao sa bawat kompanya (tawagin natin na mga buklod) kaysa magbuo ng unyon na kinakailangang dumaan sa mga ligal at teknikal na proseso. Upang mapatampok ang pampulitikang tungkulin at katangian ng BMP, mas wasto at mas mahusay na ang magiging ispesyalisasyon nito ay ang pagbubuo ng network ng mga grupo o sirkulong pampulitika sa pinakamaraming kompanyang maaabot nito na mas nakatuon sa pampulitikang pagkamulat, pagkakaisa, pagkakaorganisa at pakikibaka ng masang manggagawa bilang uri.

Oryentasyon ng mga buklod na ito ang aktibong paglahok sa pang-unyong pakikibaka nang hindi binabago ang prinsipal na diin sa pampulitikang pag-oorganisa. Bawat lider, organisador at aktibista ng BMP ay dapat magkaroon ng mga target na kompanyang tatayuan nila ng mga buklod. Dapat ay walang tigil ang araw-araw na pagbubuo ng mga buklod na ito hanggang sa malatagan natin ang mayorya ng mga kompanya sa buong bansa ng ganitong network ng sosyalistang pagkakaisang makauri bilang preparasyon sa paglubha ng krisis ng globalisasyon at pag-igpaw ng kilusan ng uring manggagawa sa antas ng pampulitikang pakikibaka. Lagumin natin ang karanasan sa pagbubuo ng Kauri at iangkop at paunlarin ito sa pagbubuo ng mga buklod. Ikonsentra natin ang Kauri sa mga pook ng tirahan ng masa samantalang ang mga buklod ay mas sa mga pook ng trabaho natin itayo.

Ang ekspansyon ng mga bagong kompanyang tatayuan ng buklod ay dapat tuloy-tuloy na dumaloy at dumaan sa mga natural na koneksyong gaya ng mga kamag-anak at kaibigan ng ating mga aktibong pwersa na kung pipigain natin ang potensyal na ekspansyon ay siguradong tumatagos sa napakaraming kompanya. Ang ispesyalisasyong ito ng BMP sa ganitong tipo ng pag-oorganisa ay mangangahulugan ng pagpapakahusay sa gawaing propaganda, ahitasyon at edukasyon.

Sa pamamagitan ng tuloy-tuloy na paglawak ng organisadong network ng mga buklod ng BMP at mga pulitikalisado nating mga unyon, ipakilala natin ang BMP bilang militanteng ekspresyon ng pampulitikang pagkakaorganisa ng uri at behikulo ng kanilang pampulitikang pakikibaka. Itransporma natin ang BMP sa isang organisadong makinarya ng pampulitikang propaganda at pakikibaka ng sosyalistang kilusan sa bansa na ang araw-araw at oras-oras na inaasikaso ay ang pagpapalawak at paghihinang ng makauring pagkakaisa ng manggagawang Pilipino at ang pangunguna ng uring ito sa pampulitikang pakikibaka ng sambayanan para sa kalayaan at demokrasya.

Kwento ng Isang Nalimutang Bayani - ni Mona ng Temic

sinulat ni Mona na dating manggagawa ng Temic sa kanyang blog na mulakana

Taong 1997 nang makilala ko si Felimon Lagman o Ka Popoy. Nakilala bilang kakampi at isang timbulan ng mga taong nalulunod at walang makapitan. Kami ng mga mangagawa ng Temic na sinibak ng walang pakundangan at awa ng kapitalista ng Temic, isang kompanya na pag aari ng Aleman..mga dayuhang kapitalista!

Nakita ko sa pagkatao ni Ka Popoy ang tunay na pagiging maka masa. Nakasama namin siya sa maraming pagkakataon ng aming pakikibaka, upang labanan ang sistemang bulok na umiiral sa bansa. Ang paghahari at pamamayagpag ng kapitalista at gobyernong Ramos na wari ay manhid sa hikbi ng mga naaping mga manggagawa.

Si Ka Popoy..walang kinakatakutan. Naalala ko pa ng minsang magalit siya sa mga taga Department of Labor, dahil sa hindi nito pagkilos sa problema ng mga mangagawa ng Temic. Sinabihan niya ang mga ito na parang mga "pagong na nakasakay sa suso". Minsan din niyang sinabi sa media na ang secretary of labor na si Ginoong Quisumbing ay walang b'y'g. Wala siyang kinaiilagang tao, kung sa tingin niya ay tama ang kanyang pinaglalaban at ito ay sa kapakanan ng mga manggagawa.

Maraming kwento sa buhay ni Ka Popoy. Minsan niya akong nakwentuhan ng maikling parte ng buhay niya nang samahan niya kami sa kulungan. Matapos kaming arestuhin ng mga pulis sa Department of Labor, 70 kaming ikinulong sa pelota court. Nilapitan niya ako at lumupasay din sa sementong inuupuan ko..upang kamustahin kung gaano nasaktan pagkatapos ng brutal na dispersal. Nakita niya nagkulay talong ang aking mga braso na noong ko rin lang napansin. Napaluha ako kase pakiramdam ko.. inalo ako ng isang ama. "Wala lang yan, aniya". Ang asawa ko ay binaril at pinatay ng mga militar. At hindi ko man lang nakita ang kanyang burol, dadag niya pa. Doon din niya pinakilala sa akin ang kanyang anak na si Dante.

Ganun si Ka Popoy, nauna pa siya sa istasyon ng pulis na pagkukulungan naming mga welgista. May kasama ng abogado upang umalalay sa amin. Noong ipasok kami sa pelota court pumasok din siya upang ikulong ang sarili kasama namin. Hindi rin siya pumayag na ihiwalay ng kulungan ang mga opisyales ng unyon sa mga miyembro. Nakitaan ko rin siya nang pagkahinahon. Na noong minsan siya pa ang umaawat sa amin kapag nabubuyo kami ng aming galit na nararamdaman. Pinaalalahanan niya kami na gawing legal at tama ang lahat sa pakikibaka.

Mahigit sampung taon na ang nakakaraan, ngunit papano ba makalimutan ang isang tao na nakita kong nagsakripisyo ng wala namang hiniling na kapalit na kahit ano? Iginalang niya ang a ming desisyon na hindi mapasailalim ng BMP noong panahong yaon, dahil sa maraming kadahilanan. Sinamahan niya kami sa pagtagas ng aming mga pawis at luha sa pakikibaka laban sa mapang aping gobyerno at kapitalista.

Taong 2000 ng ako ay mapilitang mangibang bansa. Pagkatapos manlupaypay sa kawalan ng hustisya mula sa gobyerno ni Ramos. Mabigat na umalis ng sariling bayan upang sumagupa at hanapin ang sarili sa bansa at sentro ng imperyalismo at kapitalismo. Sa bansa ni Uncle Sam (laban man ito sa aking kalooban) , ito lang alam kong paraan upang buhayin ang aking pamilya.

Para akong ibon na naputulan ng dalawang pakpak. Namulat ang aking mata sa napakalalim na problema ng iniwang bayan. Na sa aking nagdidilim na pananaw ay wala ng pag asa.

Pagkatapos ng ilang taon, nakita ko si Ka Popoy sa isang dyaryong Pilipino sa New York... wala na siyang buhay. Pinaslang ng walang awa ng mga halang ang kaluluwa. Ano pa nga ba ang magagawa ko kundi lumuha. Ang luhaan ang isang tao na sa aking paningin ay isang bayani ng mga mahihirap at naaapi. Isang tapat na kaibigan na handang magbuwis ng buhay para sa bayan.

Maaaring nagupo ng mga kriminal ang pisikal na katawan ni Ka Popoy ngunit hindi ang kanyang prinsipyo at pinaglalaban. Ang kanyang mga nagawa sa maraming tao ay isang ugat na ibinaon sa lupa na muling uusbong upang muling lumago at magbunga. Upang isang araw ay magbigay ng pag asa sa bawat isa.

Ang alaala ni Ka Popoy ay hindi mabubura sa puso ng kanyang mga naging kasama, kaibigan at karamay. Sa takdang panahon, kikilalanin ng lahat ang kadakilaan ng kanyang pagkatao. Sa kabila ng mga maling paratang laban sa kanyang katauhan. Ang katotohanan ang siyang mamamayani.

Isang saludo sa bayaning nalimutan ng bayan!

Sino si Ka Popoy sa Akin? - ni Tita Flor Santos

ni Tita Flor Santos
lider-organisador ng Sanlakas
organisador ng Metro Manila Vendors Alliance (MMVA)

Sino si Ka Popoy sa akin?

Siya ang isa sa nakatulong luminaw ang aking pananaw at direksyon hinggil sa isang lipunang sosyalista.

Siya ang nagbigay inspirasyong magpatuloy kumilos, mag-organisa at magsakripisyo kahit sa harap ng krisis at mga problemang nararanasan bilang fulltime na organisador.

Siya ang nakilala kong napakatapang na kasama, lider-manggagawa, at lider-masa, lalo na noong nakasama ko siya sa laban sa lokal na pakikibaka sa Freedom Island para sa disenteng paninirahan ng mga maralita, kahit na nakataya ang kanyang buhay dahil sa internal na tunggalian sa area.

Siya ang nagtiwala at nagturo sa akin na maging matapang, manindigan, maging mapagpasya, paglalapat ng mga angkop na taktika at porma ng pagkilos at pangangasiwa ng LMS (local mass struggles) sa mga komunidad, gaya ng Sitio Mendez, Freedom Island, North Triangle, Fort Bonifacio at Antipolo.

Sa kanya ko rin natutuhan ang iba't ibang estilo ng pangungumbinsi at pangangalap ng rekurso at pinansya para siguradong matuloy ang mga gawain at kampanya.

Siya ay isang matapat at tunay na kasama dahil diretsong pinupuna ang mga resulta ng mga gawain ng mga kadre kahit na masakit na puna upang maging hamon para mapahusay ang pagkilos at maging matagumpay.

Siya ay sensitibo sa mga pangangailangan at problema ng mga kasama at mabilis umakto at mag-intervene pag may conflict sa loob ng kolektibo. Nagbibigay siya ng panahon, nakikinig sa mga reklamo at sinisikap itong ayusin at mag-unify.

Siya ay simpleng tao at may sense of humor.

Sa panahon ng mga kumperensya at pulong, nakikipagkwentuhan siya at nakikipagbiruan kahit sa personal at pang-organisasyon na usapin.

Malaki ang kanyang inambag sa pagpapanday at pagpapaunlad ng aking sarili bilang kadre, organisador at lider-masa dahil sa natutuhang mga aral mula sa kanya, teoretikal man o mga karanasan at praktika, at lahat ng ito ay nakatulong sa pagsustine sa aking commitment na patuloy kumilos sa ating kilusan para sa pagbabago tungo sa pagkamit ng sosyalistang lipunan.

Nasaan ka, kasamang Carlos Forte? - ni Greg Bituin Jr.

ni Greg Bituin Jr.
(nalathala sa pahayagang Obrero, Blg. 18)
Ang alyas na Carlos Forte ang umano’y ginamit na koda ni Ka Popoy Lagman noong nabubuhay pa

Ang dugo mong tumilamsik at natuyo sa tigang na lupa ay isang sakripisyong hindi mawawaglit sa aming isipan

At ngayon, kasamang Carlos Forte, nakikita ka namin sa karamihan ng naghihirap na naghahangad ng pagbabago sa lipunan

Nasa mga kuyom na kamao ka ng mga aktibistang nagrarali sa Mendiola

Nasa mga mata ka ng mga organisador na handang ilaan ang kanilang panahon at kakayanan para sa ikalalaya ng masa

Nasa mga sikmura ka ng mga maralitang inalisan ng bahay ng mga berdugo, kaya ngayo’y walang matirhan at nagugutom

Nasa mga nangangalog na tuhod ka ng mga vendors na nilalapastangang parang hayop sa lansangan

Nasa mga lalamunan ka ng mga magsasakang inagawan ng lupang sinasaka

Nasa mga dibdib ka ng mga kababaihang pinagsasamantalahan, at ngayo’y humihingi ng hustisya

Nasa mga payat na bisig ka ng mga manggagawang biktima ng kontraktwalisasyon

Nasa mga noo ka ng mga estudyanteng nagninilay kung bakit may kakaunting mayayaman habang laksa-laksa ang naghihirap

Nasa mga luha ka ng mga magulang ng dalawang sanggol na namatay sa marahas na demolisyon sa Navotas

Nasa mga ugat ka ng mga aktibistang patuloy sa pagsisiwalat ng katotohanan hinggil sa kabalintunaan ng lipunan

Nasa mga dugo ka ng mga desaparesidos na sapilitang dinukot at ngayon ay hindi pa natatagpuan

Nasa mga buto ka ng mga bilanggong pulitikal na naghahanap ng katarungan at kalayaan

Nasa mga bungo ka ng mga maralita’t manggagawang pinaslang ng mga berdugo ng estado’t kapitalista

Kasamang Carlos Forte, hangga’t lugmok sa katinuan ang naghaharing iilan

Hangga’t nakatitigatig ang mga ngisi ng mapang-aping gahaman

Hangga’t nababagabag ang mga manggagawa’t maralitang nahihirapan

Hangga’t may takot na nananahan sa bawat pitlag ng puso ng karamihan

Hangga’t ang bawat hataw ng kapitalismo ay nakahihiwa ng laman

Naririto ka, kasamang Carlos Forte

Naririto ka sa bawat dalamhati ng masang lumalaban para sa kanilang karapatan

Naririto ka sa bawat pasa ng mga aktibistang nagnanais pumiglas sa higpit ng tanikala

Naririto ka sa bawat sugat ng mga manggagawang patuloy na nakikihamok sa lupit ng sistema

Naririto ka, kasamang Carlos Forte, at patuloy kang dumadaloy sa dugo ng mapagpalaya

Ang Binhing Itinanim sa Matabang Lupa ng Rebolusyon

ni Greg Bituin Jr.

(Ang tulang ito’y binasa ng makata sa harap ng maraming tao sa Ka Popoy’s marker, UP Bahay ng Alumni, Pebrero 6, 2005)

ang buto ng mangga pag itinanim ay nagbubunga ng masarap na mangga

kapag binhi ng palay ay inihasik ng magsasaka sa lupa, nagbubunga ito ng palay, na nagiging bigas at kaning pantawid-gutom sa masang maralita

ang binhi ng rosas kapag itinanim at inalagaan ay nagbubunga ng magandang bulaklak na maiaalay sa magagandang dalaga

ang binhing itinanim sa matabang lupa ng rebolusyon ay magbubunga ng tunay na pagbabago sa lipunan

ang binhing itinanim ni Ka Popoy sa puso’t isipan ng uring manggagawa, na mula sa bunga ng diwa’t karanasan nina Marx, Engels, Lenin, Crisanto Evangelista, Asedillo, at iba pang lider-manggagawa, ay kailangang tuluy-tuloy na alagaan, diligan at pagyamanin ng mapagpalang kamay ng manggagawa nang sa gayo’y magbunga ng kalayaan ng uri mula sa sistemang mapagsamantala

ang binhing iyon ay nagmula sa pagiging matatag niyang puno ng kilusang paggawa

nagsimula siyang kasapi ng Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan nuong panahong umiiral ang kamay na bakal

matyaga niyang pinag-aralan ang mga akda nina Marx, Engels at Lenin, kasabay ng pagtatanong at pagmamasid kung bakit ganito ang lipunan, kung bakit napakaraming naghihirap habang ang iilan lang ang yumayaman, kung bakit may inaaliping manggagawa at may kapitalistang gahaman

at mula sa pangarap na baguhin ang lipunan ay kanyang itinatag ang sosyalistang Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), Sanlakas, Kapatiran ng mga Pangulo ng Unyon sa Pilipinas (KPUP), at ang Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) ang huli niyang proyekto

naging gulugod siya ng Lawin 35, Kilusang Rollback, Congress for Labor Unity at panawagang Resign All

naging balikat sa laban ng Freedom Island, Temic, Philippines Air Lines, at marami pang iba

naging kasangga sa laban ng mga maralita para sa laban sa katiyakan sa paninirahan

at sabi ng iba’y naging kalihim pa siya ng Partido ng Manggagawang Pilipino

at patuloy pang lumalago ang kanyang mga itinanim, nagkasanga, at naging matatag na puno

hanggang sa pinitas ng punglo ang taglay niyang buhay

ah, nakapanginginig ng laman at nakapagngangalit ng bagang ang pagkapaslang sa kanya

at tulad ng binhi’y itinanim ang kanyang katawan sa tigang na lupa

mga kasama, tulad ng iba pang martir na lider-manggagawa, ang binhing itinanim sa matabang lupa ng rebolusyon, ay patuloy nating pagyamanin, diligan at alagaan

hanggang sa ito’y magbunga ng ganap na paglaya

Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan - ni Aries Aves

ni Aries Aves
SDK-PUP Chapter

Samahan nyo noon
Samahan namin ngayon
Samahan nating lahat
Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan

Samahang iniluwal noong panahon ng diktaturya
Humubog ng mga lider kabataan
Lumawak at nakibaka
Para sa Pambansang Demokrasya

Samahang hinagupit ng kamay na bakal
Hindi nagpasupil hanggang kamatayan
Samahang nagluwal ng lider kabataan
Samahang pinamunuan ni Ka Popoy Lagman.

Isang lider kabataan
May paninindigan

Ngayong panahon ng bagong henerasyon
Ang ating samahan muling babangon
Ito’y malaking hamon sa aming mga bago
Ipagpapatuloy ang sinimulan nyo

Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan
Samahang may tungkuling gagampanan
Sa pagtataguyod ng Sosyalistang Lipunan

Samahan ninyo noon
Samahan namin ngayon
Samahan nating lahat
Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan

Pebrero 6, 2001 - ni Greg Bituin Jr.

PEBRERO 6, 2001
ni Greg Bituin Jr.

nagbabaga ang takipsilim
ng Pebrero sais na yaon
nagdugo ang araw sa kanluran
tumatangis, nagngangalit
iyon ang Pebrero sais
ng lahat ng Pebrero sais

ang mga manggagawa’t
maralita’y nagdalamhati,
ang mga kababaihan
at kabataa’y nagluksa
kahit mga ibon sa papawirin
ay humuni ng pagluha
habang humahalakhak
ang mga buwitre
at siyang-siya

nagmarka ang pangyayaring yaon
at sumugat sa pakikibaka
ng mga obrero at ang pilat
na nilikha niyon ay humihiyaw
ng pagbangon at pagpapatuloy
ng nasimulang laban

at tulad ng binhing natuyo,
nalibing sa lupa, at tumubo
bilang isang matatag na punong
di basta-basta mabubuwal

ang pagkatanim ng kanyang
kalansay sa lupa’y
ng muling pagsilang,
paglago, at muling paglawak
ng kilusang manggagawa upang
tuluyang burahin ang mga buktot
na mamumuhunan at mga burgis
at naghahari-harian sa lipunan

iyon ang Pebrero sais
ng lahat ng Pebrero sais
pagkat sa araw na iyon
naging martir
ang dakilang proletaryo.

Bayani Ka Nga - ni Ka Tony Miranda

(Alay kay Ka Popoy Lagman)
ni Ka Tony Miranda
ng BMP-Southern Tagalog

Mga pitong taon ka nang namamahinga
Sa ganap na mag-aalas-singko ng hapon
Ika’y walang awang kinitil, hanggang sa ngayo’y
Wala pa ring kaliwanagan at patuloy pa rin naguguluhan

Ang aking isipa’t damdamin
Walang himpil ang kadumihan at karahasan
Sa kasalukuyang panahon…

Naisip ko tuloy, kelan kaya magkakaroon ng pagbabago?
Ilan pa ba ang nais umangat sa iba?
Ilan pa ba ang buhay na tatapusin upang makamit lamang ang pansariling nais?

Ang iyong dugong tumilamsik sa daa’y
Magsisilbing pataba sa lupa ng mga api
Ang iyong katawang tumilapon sa kalsada’y
Magsisilbing kanlungan ng mga bagong bayani
Ang iyong iniwang karununga’y magiging daan
Upang ipagpatuloy ang laban…

Sa iyong paglalakbay sa kapayapaan,
Kinakamusta kita’t umasang magkakaroon din ng pagbabago…
Oo, tama nga sila, bayani ka nga…

Comrades remember Ka Popoy Lagman (2002, PhilStar)

Comrades remember Ka Popoy Lagman
(The Philippine Star) Updated February 07, 2002

Exactly a year after he was gunned down by four assassins inside the University of the Philippines campus in Diliman, Quezon City, the family, comrades and friends of slain labor leader Filemon "Popoy" Lagman gathered at the spot where he fell to remember him.

They also criticized the Philippine National Police for its failure to find his killers. "It is ironic that in your life you relentlessly campaigned for justice for the disadvantaged and the oppressed," said a statement from his family read by former Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, "but in death, you yourself are denied justice."

About 50 close friends, relatives and former comrades held a wreath-laying ceremony yesterday at Bahay ng Alumni inside the UP Campus right at the spot where he was gunned down exactly a year ago. He was 47.

The Lagman family and members of the labor movement also announced the establishment of a foundation to honor the memory of Ka Popoy and his brother Herman, an activist during the Martial Law days who disappeared without any trace after he was abducted by military agents.

His brother Edcel told the audience during the solemn ceremony yesterday that their 81-year-old mother Cecilia, is honored to have lost two noble sons for a noble cause. "Nana is a strong-willed mother," he said, paying tribute to their mother, who sat nearby in a wheelchair, teary eyed.

His former comrades in the underground also issued a statement extolling his contributions to the labor movement. Patricio Ramirez, spokesperson for the underground Partido ng Manggagawang Pilipino (PMP) which he helped found, also warned that "justice will be served in due time."

"The revolutionary movement," he said, " has its own methods of identifying and punishing the gunmen and mastermind of Ka Popoy’s assassination. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. " The fallen labor leader was the founding secretary general of the PMP, a shadowy group working for a worker-led revolution.

Wilson Fortaleza, national president of the militant party-list group Sanlakas, said his colleagues in the labor movement will continue to work for the ideals he lived and died for. – Romel Bagares

Philippine Greens hail Ka Popoy

Philippine Greens hail Ka Popoy (Feb.12, 2001)

CyberDyaryo Monday, 12 February 2001

Philippine Greens hail Ka Popoy

To all green advocates and fellow Filipinos in the network,

.....As a member of the Philippine Greens, I would like to convey our group's sympathy for a leader of the working class. Ka Popoy lived the life of a true revolutionary; despite all his alleged faults and weaknesses, he stood by the working class which nourished his mind and spirit since his youthful days.

.....While there may be differences in strategies and tactics with him and other revolutionaries, especially for those of us in the green movements who actively espouse active non-violence, we know perfectly well that revolutionary violence is a reflexive, instinctual response to institutional and armed forms of violence against the oppressed sectors in Philippine society. Active non-violence is a higher challenge for us to create the necessary conditions for its creative and successful application and practice.

.....We salute his comrade-in-arms who have just recenlty established a Worker's party (Partido ng Manggagawa) to put into the frontlines of legal parliamentary struggle the concerns of the industrial proletariat. We see this as a good step towards the right direction for citizens' movements to heighten their struggle for social justice.

.....As activists of the green movement, we know fully well that social justice and environmental justice go hand in hand.

.....It is the challenge of green activists in the environmental movement to complement the struggle for social justice, with the struggle for environmental rights.

.....Hail to Ka Popoy and activists of genuine labor movements!

In peace,

Jun Simbulan (Philippine Greens - Cavite)
on behalf of the Philippine Greens in different parts of the Philippines

Statement from CyberDyaryo

Condemning the assassination of Popoy Lagman (Feb.7, 2001)

CyberDyaryo Wednesday, 07 February 2001

Condemning the assassination of Popoy Lagman

The Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) condemns the assassination of Felimon "Ka Popoy" Lagman. Such was a dastardly and cowardly act that could only have been perpetrated by people who want to derail the momentum of the progressive movement.

.....As leader of the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) and as one of the key figures in the peoples' movement, Ka Popoy has earned the enmity of a lot of people most especially those in power. He has also angered leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) when he challenged its ideas and bolted out of it. But for all his faults, Ka Popoy has consistently advocated the interest of the poor particularly the workers and has constantly posed ideas that challenged the ruling elite.

.....Harassments and surveillance are common occurrences experienced by those who work in peoples' organization most particularly those who work in militant organizations. Not a few people were killed particularly those who are strongly opposed to government's anti-people policies. Still, the killing of Ka Popoy comes as a shock because it happened at a time
when we are still jubilant over our victory in the movement to oust a corrupt and inefficient government.

.....We cannot help but remember the abduction of Lando Olalia and the assassination of Lean Alejandro just after the EDSA uprising in 1986. We cannot help but fear that the killing of Ka Popoy is but a similar warning to the peoples' movement.

.....Ka Popoy's organization has consistently advocated a "No to Erap, No to Gloria, Resign All" position, which has gained a substantial number of adherents during the campaign against Erap. He has also consistently worked for the unification of some members of the left. His killing will no doubt put a dent to these efforts. Worse, the intrigues and suspicions it created will further deepen the rift within the already splintered peoples' movement.

.....We therefore call on the government to conduct a thorough investigation of the case and we call on all members of the peoples' movement to further strengthen its resolve in our fight for the rights and interests of the people and not be swayed by intrigues that could further divide us.

(Signed) Santos A. Lamban
Secretary General, PAHRA

KOMPIL condemns the murder of Ka Popoy

KOMPIL condemns the murder of Ka Popoy (Feb.07, 2001)

CyberDyaryo Wednesday, 07 February 2001

KOMPIL condemns the murder of Ka Popoy

The Kongreso ng Mamayang Pilipino (KOMPIL) strongly condemns the murder of Filemon "Ka Popoy" Lagman. His killing was meant to silence one of the brave souls who continued to be outspoken for the cause of the workers and other marginalized sectors of society. As such he earned the enmity of certain interests and groups, which realized that they had much to fear from his outspokenness.

.....Roy Oliveros, KOMPIL Spokesperson for Labor and Federation of Free Workers-Labor Solidarity Movement (FFW-LSM) National Vice President expresses their grief on Ka Popoy's demise saying, "While we differ in approaches, we are one in promoting workers rights and interest, thus we mourn the loss of a leader, and we condemn the dastardly act committed on Popoy.

.....Alex Aguilar, also KOMPIL Spokeperson for Labor and Trade Union Congress of the Philippines- Labor Solidarity Movement (TUCP-LSM) likewise adds that, "Any act against a brother in the labor movement is an attack on all trade union movement." Furthermore, Mr. Aguilar says that "for whatever political reasons this act was committed, the means by which this was perpetrated will never justify any political end."

.....The brutal assassination of Ka Popoy does injustice to us all in as much as it disregards all the civilized rules of democratic debate that, many of us continue to struggle to enlarge and safeguard. It scorns the heroic efforts of the ordinary people who come together to seek justice through non-violent means. It is cowardice to hide behind a gun to enforce one's point of view. It is also the height of stupidity to kill a voice crying for justice because there will always be many more who will come forward to press the issue. Our history is replete with examples of this. They simply have not learned.

.....Joshua Mata, also KOMPIL and Alliance of Progressive Labor-LSM Spokesperson, sees this "as an act that is meant to terrorize the labor movement and decapitate its leadership." He further adds that "hindi magtatagumpay ang ganitong motibo dahil lalo lang nitong palalakasin ang samahang paggawa at lalung marami pang manggagawa ang
handang ipaglaban ang kanilang karapatan."

.....KOMPIL condoles with Ka Popoy's family, the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino and the SANLAKAS in this time of bereavement. KOMPIL likewise urges the Macapagal-Arroyo administration to immediately investigate the case and bring to justice the perpetrators of this brutal crime.

Huwebes, Pebrero 5, 2009

Beyond the Assassins' Bullets - by Greg Bituin Jr.

by Gregorio V. Bituin Jr.


A long time ago, one man said to his assassin, “Come, shoot me! You’ll just kill a man!” That was Comandante Che Guevara, who comes face to face with his assassin Bolivian soldier Mario Teran, and was killed while doing his revolutionary work in Bolivia. They killed the man, but not his ideas, which today endured the test of time.

Likewise, Filemon “Ka Popoy” Lagman was just a man. But his assassins can’t kill his ideas. They had wiped out his body but not his legacy.

Ka Popoy was an epitome of a great political thinker, a hero of the proletariat, a critical analyzer of the issues of the time, a prolific writer, a dedicated ideologue, an indefatigable leader, and a fearless revolutionary. He led the split in the Maoist Communist Party of the Philippines and advanced the idea that the working class and not the peasants are the main force that will emancipate all the toiling masses from the claws of capitalism. His legacy lies in his writings and in the heart and minds of the Filipino working class. His work inspired others to aspire for a society where there are no slaves of capital and no private property of the means of production.

He contributed much to the advancement of revolutionary thought. He wrote the counter-thesis, which produced great works such as PSR: A Semi-feudal Alibi for Protracted War, 1994. This is a critique of Joma Sison’s book (under the pseudonym Amado Guerrero) Philippine Society and Revolution, which characterized Philippine society’s mode of production as semi-feudal and semi-colonial; PPDR: Class Line vs. Mass Line, 1994, which is a critique of the CPP’s ‘People’s Program for a Democratic Revolution, which laid down its standpoint on the bourgeois democratic revolution and the agrarian question; and third is the PPW: A New-Type Revolution of the Wrong Type, 1994, which is a critique of Sison’s dogma of the armed struggle as the primary form of struggle for the Filipino proletariat, a review of Chinese society and history.

He also wrote deep political and economic analysis of the Philippine society in his work Aralin sa Kahirapan, also known as ARAK; and Puhunan at Paggawa (Capital and Labor), which he profoundly discussed in Tagalog Marx’s Das Kapital.

His contributions for the emancipation of the toiling masses from the bondage of poverty are his road to immortality. Offering his time, his talent and his life for a greater cause for the betterment of others while advancing socialist ideas is what made him immortal in the eyes of the working class.

Together with proletarian thinkers and revolutionaries such as Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, Crisanto Evangelista, Teodoro Asedillo, Felixberto Olalia, and the like, the name Filemon “Ka Popoy” Lagman will be engraved in the pantheon of working class heroes.

History is kind enough that as I researched and compiled the works written by different people and put them together in this book, I learned many things that made me think and feel that activist like me should continue to propagate the ideas of the working class and help in their struggle until the day has come that the victory of socialism worldwide will become a reality. I believe that others who will read this book will agree.

Through their articles and poems, those who have known Ka Popoy - friends, comrades, admirers, and even enemies - salutes the man whom many feared because of his tenacity in propagating his ideas and in advancing the working class interest. They salute the man who called for a revolution in Ayala.

Filemon Lagman is dead, but the assassins’ bullets didn’t kill and cannot kill the legacy of the man many called Ka Popoy. They didn’t stop and cannot stop working class revolutionaries and activists from dreaming, pursuing and struggling for the advancement of socialism and for the emancipation of the working class.

This compilation is a testament that beyond the assassins’ bullets, Ka Popoy’s legacy will forever be enshrined in the history of the Filipino working class. Long live Ka Popoy!

Kung Naririto Ka... - ni Teody Navea

Kung Naririto Ka…
Ni Teody Navea
BMP Secretary General

Di mo nanaising mamamayagpag ang bangis ng globalisasyon
Di mo hahayaang ang mga palalo ay magtampisaw sa yaman
Di mo kukunsintihin ang mga buwaya sa parliamento
Di mo papayagang manaig ang kasamaan sa kabutihan……

Itataguyod mo ang kapangyarihan ng uring anakpawis
Ibabandila mo ang daluyong ng kilusang mapagpalaya
Iguguhit mo ang linya ng pakikibaka
Igigiya mo ang laban ng manggagawa
Isusulong mo ang landas ng pagrerebolusyon

Magsusunog ka ng kilay para pagyamanin ang pagrerebolusyon
Mag-iikot ka sa mga komunidad at pabrika para alamin ang kalagayan ng masa
Makikipagtalastasan ka sa mga paham at dalubhasa
Magbubuo ka ng iba’t ibang porma ng pakikibaka

Higit sa lahat,
Itatayo mo ang mga organisasyong mapagpalaya
Itatakwil mo ang mga taksil sa uri
Iipunin mo ang mga kadre’t puwersa sa rebolusyon

Hindi ka titigil hangga’t di nagwawagi ang uring anakpawis
Hindi ka titigil sa pagtuklas ng mga bagong ideya para ipanalo ang rebolusyon

Hindi ka mabibigo sapagkat daan daang puwersa ang handang isabuhay ang iyong mga hangarin at adhikain para sa kilusang Manggagawa, Ka Popoy!

Ka Popoy - by Jed M. Eva III

Ka Popoy
Jed M. Eva III
President, National Federation of Student Councils (1997-1999)
Information Officer, Sanlakas (1996-1999)

The last time I saw Ka Popoy was a day or two before he was gunned down on the steps of U.P.'s Bahay ng Alumni. I ran into him in the very same building where he would later fall, and to this day I remember every word of our final conversation.

Ka Popoy, seated at a table at Chocolate Kiss, was, as usual, doing two things that he always did: smoking and drinking coffee. After exchanging pleasantries, I noticed that he did not have a bodyguard, a sight I had grown accustomed to in the close to five years I had known him. "Pops," I said, "wala ka na atang bodyguard, ha."

"Di na kailangan yan," he said nonchalantly.

Ka Popoy would be felled by assassins’ bullets soon after.

Like most who received the tragic news that day, I trooped to the Philippine Heart Center hoping that the man who inspired me to join the movement would live to fight another day. Sadly, he didn't survive the attack. What did survive, however, were fond memories of a man many people––especially those in government––were not particularly fond of.

As a councilor of U.P. Diliman's University Student Council, I knew very little about Ka Popoy, my knowledge of him limited to the fact that he was a political activist and the feisty, controversial younger brother of two of my fraternity brothers at U.P. Law’s Alpha Phi Beta Fraternity, Edcel and Hermon Lagman. I would learn more later on as I became more involved in the National Federation of Student Councils (NFSC), an organization composed of student councils from universities and colleges across the country.

I heard Ka Popoy speak for the first time in the NFSC’s National Congress in Davao in November 1996. In that Congress’ major forum––which tackled globalization and its effects on the country––a surprised Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (then a member of the Philippine Senate) grudgingly welcomed Ka Popoy onto the stage she thought she would monopolize that afternoon. In a simple, straightforward, extemporaneous speech, he passionately argued for us student leaders to stand with the victims of globalization––the poor and the marginalized.

Certainly, the more conservative student leaders present had difficulty accepting the politics of Ka Popoy. Despite this, many gravitated towards Ka Popoy, who, despite lacking rock star looks, was treated like a rock star nonetheless. Perhaps it was his penchant for wearing leather jackets; maybe it was the romantic figure he cut as an uncompromising revolutionary in an age of trade-offs and horse-trading. Whatever it was, this much is true: that day, the majority of our country’s student leaders chose to pose with a leftist labor leader rather than a senator of the Republic.

That the country’s youngest generation of leaders would choose to stand for photographs with a known communist was remarkable in itself; what was downright extraordinary was how many student leaders would stand by the principles he espoused in that forum. In a spirited, animated debate on a resolution condemning the ill effects of globalization, student leaders––myself included––echoed Ka Popoy’s arguments, paving the way for the NFSC’s progressive position on globalization and its active participation in SLAM-APEC.

Shortly after his speech, upon his return to Manila, Ka Popoy would be apprehended and jailed on some trumped up charge (weren’t they all?) to keep him out of the public’s eye as the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino, Sanlakas, and other SLAM-APEC orgs like the NFSC were in the midst of organizing a huge caravan that would make its way to Subic to protest the APEC Summit being held in the former American naval base. Rather than strike fear or discouragement in the hearts of us younger activists, Ka Popoy’s capture would instead galvanize us into action, the Ramos Administration’s obvious attempts to quell the waves of protest fanning the fire of idealism in our hearts. Our idol in prison, Ka Popoy’s youthful rebelliousness seemed to rub off us, as we were inspired by an image that would be captured for posterity on the front pages of the nation’s broadsheets: Ka Popoy giving the finger to the State that sought to quiet the country’s most influential labor leader by locking him up.

Despite Ka Popoy’s incarceration, the SLAM-APEC caravan was a success. I had––then or ever since––never seen so many jeepneys in my life. I slept on the roof of our mosquito-ridden jeep, and used a farmer’s untilled field as a toilet––and utterly relished some of the most uncomfortable hours of my life. This, however, would only be the beginning for me and other student leaders. Some like myself would turn their back on their education and begin to work full-time for the movement, organizing fellow student leaders and later on campaigning to put Sanlakas in congress during the first party-list elections. Others would graduate from the youth and student movement and organize other sectors––labor, the urban poor, women; all the while holding on tightly to our idealism in spite of the painful realities––hunger, empty pockets, angry families––that relentlessly dogged us.

While I would eventually leave the movement––as did many of my contemporaries––its lingering influence and that of its iconic leader, Ka Popy, would leave a lasting impression on many of us from the NFSC and other youth organizations. A few would enter government service; some would join NGOs and people’s organizations; others would lend their skills to foundations; none (to my knowledge) would become filthy rich. In June 2008, I celebrated my tenth year in government, my inability to leave for the profitable pastures of the private sector attributable to some of the lessons Ka Popoy passed on in his life and his death.

Most know that Ka Popoy was an aethist, and that he didn’t believe in the afterlife. I am sure, however, that wherever he is, he’ll agree that though he isn’t physically with us, his spirit lives on amongst us who continue to serve our countrymen in our own ways, and continue to take a stand for what is good, right, and just in this world.

Ka Popoy, Tunay na Lider at Propagandista - ni Greg Bituin Jr.

ni Gregorio V. Bituin Jr.

Bago ako nag-aral sa kolehiyo noong 1993, ay naging manggagawa muna ako bilang pioneer machine operator ng tatlong taon sa isang Filipino-Japanese factory sa Alabang, Muntinlupa. Nag-resign ako upang mag-aral muli. Bandang 1992 iyon.

Nag-enrol ako at naging kasapi ng publikasyong The Featinean nang sinubukan kong mag-eksam at nakapasa. Nasa publikasyon ako bilang baguhang manunulat ng magasing pang-estudyante sa FEATI University nang naimbitahan ng isang bagong kakilala para sumama sa League of Filipino Students (LFS), at ang isa naman ay sa LFS-NCR, 1993 iyon. Nagtataka ako at mukhang di sila nagbabatian pag pumupunta sa publikasyong The Featinean. Nag-iiwasan. Iyun pala, may namumuo nang debate sa loob ng kilusan, at nag-aagawan na ng marerekrut. Nagbabakuran na pala ang kilusan sa dalawa, yung maka-Joma ay tinawag na RA o reaffirmist, habang yaong mga nasa panig ni Ka Popoy ay tinawag na RJ o rejectionist.

Nobyembre 30, 1993, ang mga dating pamunuan at kasapi ng LFS-NCR ay nag-Kongreso sa PUP, at naitayo ang Kamalayan (Kalipunan ng Malayang Kabataan). Sampung araw bago ito, isa sa nakamiting ko ay ang sikat na komedyante ngayong si Tado, na noon ay nasa Panday Pira pa ng PUP. Sa UP Manila kami nag-miting, at iyon na pala ang pagtatayo ng bagong organisasyon ng mga student councils na magiging kapalit ng National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP). Pebrero 27, 1994 nang maitayo ang National Federation of Student Councils (NFSC).

Disyembre 1993, naimbitahan akong sumama ng taga-LFS national sa bundok upang ipagdiwang ang kaarawan ni Mao Tse Tung sa Disyembre 26. Muntik na akong makasama roon. Paalis na ako para sumama nang masabi ko ang planong ito sa taga-LFS-NCR na ngayon ay naging Kamalayan. Aba’y hindi ako pinayagan. Baguhan pa lang kasi ako noon sa kilusan kaya di ko pa gaanong nauunawaan ang mga sinasabi nilang debate. Pasama-sama lamang ako sa mga aktibista nuong panahong iyon. Nakikipagtalakayan hinggil sa mga isyu ng lipunan. Hanggang sa palagi na akong nakakapunta upang dumalo ng pag-aaral sa opisina ng Edjop SCCS, na may opisina sa Prudencio St., sa Sampaloc, malapit sa bahay namin. Doon ko na natutunan ang MRP (Marxismo at Rebong Pilipino), at pati ang tatlong thesis, o counterthesis kung tawagin namin. Paalis-alis na rin ako ng bahay noon. Di kasi ako mapirmi sa bahay. Minsan naman ay tumatambay kami sa isang kainan sa Hidalgo sa Quiapo, na kilala sa tawag na Sizzling.

Una kong nakita si Ka Popoy sa isang miting sa may Cubao, sa opisina ng SSI, sa RG Building, kausap si Jake. Ngunit pangkaraniwang tao lamang siya sa tingin ko noon. Karaniwang manggagawang minimiting ang kapwa manggagawa.

Ilang buwan lamang ay pumutok ang pangalan ni Ka Popoy, nahuli siya noong Mayo 26, 1994 sa isang lugar sa Quezon City. Tandang-tanda ko ang petsang ito dahil dalawang araw bago mangyari iyon ay nakasama ako sa isang lightning rally sa Makati upang ipagdiwang ang ikasampung anibersaryo ng isang mapagpalayang organisasyon. Labindalawa ang nahuli sa aming mga kasamahan at isa ako sa na-flash ang pangalan sa telebisyon na umano’y nawawala. Ngunit sa katunayan ay nakawala nang magkahulihan. Nalaman ng aking mga magulang ang nangyari ngunit itinanggi ko na nakasama ako doon. Ito ang simula upang magdesisyon akong magtuluy-tuloy sa pagiging aktibista. Ang sabi ko sa sarili ko noon, tutal nandito na rin lang, ituloy ko na. Kaya habang pumapasok ako bilang estudyante at dyornalista sa FEATI ay isinasabay ko na rin ang pagrerekrut para sa Kamalayan.

Setyembre 1994, nahalal ako bilang opisyal ng Kamalayan sa NCR, na may posisyong Basic Masses Integration (BMI) officer. Sa Fortune Building sa Pineda, Pasig, ang naging opisina ng Kamalayan. Sama-sama na ang lahat ng organisasyon doon, tulad ng Sanlakas, Bukluran ng Manggagawa para sa Pagbabago o BMP (1995 nang palitan ito ng Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino sa isang kongreso sa Araneta), ang CREATE, STOP (Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator sa Pilipinas), Kamalayan, NFSC, Makabayan (na nalusaw din kalaunan), KPML, atbp. Doon na rin laging nag-oopisina si Ka Popoy. Malakas magyosi, ngunit mahilig maglaro ng chess. Sa panahong ito na ako nagsimulang magbaklas-bahay, o wala nang uwian.

Nahalal noong 1995 bilang tagapangulo ng Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) si Ka Popoy sa isang malaking pagtitipon sa Araneta.

Agosto 1996 nang magsimula akong kumilos sa Sanlakas. Una akong inimbitahan ni Wilson bilang manunulat, nasa Sanlakas na ako noon bilang staff, at pinadalo ako sa isang miting ng mga propagandista sa isang lugar sa Balic-Balic, at doon ay nagplano kami, kung saan si Ka Popoy ang nagpadaloy ng usapan. Tinalakay niya ang usaping propaganda, paano ang pagkakahanay ng mga isyu at ng mga susulatin, at ano ang tamang analisis sa isyung napapanahon. Bilang manunulat, marami akong natutunan sa kanya sa usaping propaganda.

Muling nahuli si Ka Popoy bago ang SLAM-APEC Conference sa Subic, 1996. At nakasama ako sa ilang pagkilos upang siya’y mapalaya.

Marso 1997, pormal na akong nagpaalam sa The Featinean bilang features and literary editor upang mag-fulltime na ng tuluyan, na siyang laman ng huli kong kolum sa magasing iyon.

Noong 1997, sa SONA ni Ramos, isang dramatikong pakulo ang pinangunahan ni Ka Popoy. Ang mga manggagawang kasapi ng BMP ay may hawak ding mga truncheon (panangga at pamalo) katapat ang mga pulis na may hawak ding truncheon. At si Ka Popoy ay naroon sa gitna ng magkaharap na manggagawa at pulis na parehong may hawak na truncheon. Na-front page siya sa dyaryong Isyu kinabukasan na nasa gitna ng dalawang panig.

Istrikto sa trabaho si Ka Popoy lalo na pagdating sa pagtapos ng deadline. Ineedit naming kung may typo error ang bawat artikulo sa tipong Newsweek at Times magazine na disenyo ng Tambuli sa opisina ng kanyang kapatid na si Edcel, nang kami ni kasamang Larry, staff noon ng BMP ay sabihan ni Ka Popoy na huwag kaming maingay, huwag magkuwentuhan, habang siya naman ay seryosong nakaharap sa kompyuter. Sa panahong iyon ako nakakita ng maraming bolyum ng sulatin ni Lenin, tila kumpleto ang 45 bolyum na iyon, at kaysarap basahin. Doon ay nakita kong talagang pinag-aaralan at kabisado ni Ka Popoy ang Leninismo.

Mabilis din siyang gumawa ng mga press statement at press releases hinggil sa iba’t ibang isyu. Nakita ko mismo ito sa laban ng PALEA (Phil. Airlines Employees Union), dahil sa akin ipinaipon at ipina-layout ang iba’t ibang press releases na ginawa niya hinggil sa labanang ito. Naitago ko pa ang nag-iisa kong kopya ng mga sulatin niyang ito.

Naroon ako ng interbyuhin siya sa radyo kung saan nakadebate niya si Ka Bel ng KMU, kung saan pasigaw niyang dinudurog sa debate si Ka Bel, na pilit namang inaawat ng announcer.

Magaling ding mang-asar si Ka Popoy lalo na sa rali. Sa isang rali sa Mendiola, dumating ang bulto ng BMP-Sanlakas-KPML-Kamalayan habang nakuha na ng kabilang grupo ng Bayan-KMU-LFS, atbp, ang tulay ng Mendiola. Sumigaw ng isang islogan si Ka Popoy at inaasar ang kabilang grupo, na nakapang-adyit naman sa amin. Bigla kaming inawat ng lider ng marshalls na huwag raw sumigaw dahil baka magkagulo. Sumigaw uli sa Ka Popoy, pero nang makita ng lider ng marshalls na si Ka Popoy pala ang sumisigaw ay di na niya kami naawat na sumigaw ng mga islogang laban sa mga RA. Bukod sa pagiging propagandista, epektibong ahitador din si Ka Popoy. At ang matindi sa aming lider na ito, pag nasa rali, wala siya sa gitna o sa hulihan ng bulto, naroon siya sa frontline. Ito ang lider, pinangungunahan ang kanyang mga tao.

Isa sa nakita kong ikinaiba ng aming lider na si Ka Popoy sa nakatunggali niya sa debateng si Joma Sison, si Ka Popoy ay nakaharap sa laban, nakakasama namin sa rali, at patuloy sa pakikipag-usap sa mga manggagawa, tulad ng inokupa ng mga manggagawang taga-Temic ang opisina ng DOLE, at inabutan na sila doon ng Pasko na di kapiling ang kani-kanilang pamilya, ang laban ng PALEA, at iba pang unyon at komunidad.

Si Joma ay nasa malayo at tila pinatatakbo ang kanilang rebolusyon sa pamamagitan ng email at fax, ngunit si Ka Popoy ay harap-harapan sa labanan. At ang tapang na ito ng isang lider ng manggagawa ay dapat hangaan, na hindi makita sa ibang lider na nagpapalaki lang ng bayag at hindi makita sa totoong labanan.

Isa sa malaki kong natutunan kay Ka Popoy ay ang gawaing propaganda. Sa pamamagitan ng polyeto, at matalisik na analisis na nakasulat sa polyeto, paggawa ng ala-Time magasin na Tambuli, pagtatayo ng radyong Santinig-Sanlakas, ay makapagmulat sa uring manggagawa at maipaabot sa kanila ang kanilang rebolusyonaryong papel upang baguhin ang lipunan. Ang natutunan kong ito’y ipinagpapatuloy ko hanggang ngayon, at marahil hanggang sa araw na ako’y malagutan ng hininga. Mabuhay si Ka Popoy!