Manila, Dec 17 (EFE).- Jose Maria “Joma” Sison, the founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines, has died in a hospital in the Netherlands, where he had lived in exile since 1987. He was 83.
A CPP statement said Joma passed away on Friday after two weeks in the hospital in Utrecht, the Netherlands.
“The entire Communist Party of the Philippines gives the highest possible tribute to its founding chairman, a great Marxist-Leninist-Maoist thinker, patriot, internationalist, and revolutionary leader,” CPP spokesperson Marco Valbuena said in the statement as reported by Rappler news.
“Even as we mourn, we vow continue to give all our strength and determination to carry the revolution forward guided by the memory and teachings of the people’s beloved Ka Joma.”
Sison, a former university professor, had been living in the Netherlands as a political refugee since 1987.
Popularly known as “Joma,” he used a pseudonym, Amado Guerrero, as a poet.
He founded the communist party on December 26, 1968, in a bamboo hut in the north of the country to emulate the Maoist revolution.
Sison led a communist rebellion that challenged the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos and that is still fighting the Philippine State today through its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NEP), which has thousands of fighters in hundreds of camps around the archipelago.
Sison was included in the US terrorist list and was accused by the Philippines of ordering multiple murders against police and military officers.
The guerrilla leader continued to support the armed struggle from his European exile.
The conflict, which has claimed between 30,000 and 45,000 lives since 1969, rages on and is the longest-running communist rebellion in the world.
Sison was very critical of former President Rodrigo Duterte.
He was Duterte’s teacher at Lyceum University in the 1960s.
But Duterte declared the group a terrorist organization in 2017 and wanted to eliminate the guerrilla organization.
Sison had assured that he would only contemplate returning to the Philippines if the government guaranteed a fair trial, which he believed unlikely. EFE