Crispin 'Ka Bel' Beltran

Filipinos in the Netherlands Give Ka Bel a Heartwarming 'Parangal' PDF Print E-mail
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Tuesday, 27 May 2008 10:26
Utrecht, The Netherlands The Filipino community in the Netherlands led by Migrante-Europe held a solemn, militant and inspiring parangal (tribute) for the late Crispin Ka Bel Beltran, progressive member of the Philippine House of Representatives representing the militant Anakpawis partylist and first chairperson of the ILPS, in this city yesterday, May 25.
Participating in the memorial were representatives of Filipino organizations, the NDFP Peace Panel led by Luis Jalandoni and International League of People's Struggle (ILPS) chairperson Prof. Jose Ma. Sison. With the theme Honor and cherish the life and struggle of Ka Bel, serve the people, the austere tribute befitting a simple and humble Ka Bel, started with a slide presentation showing him as a husband, congressman, street parliamentarian, cultural worker and an internationalist. A minute of silence was followed by a warm applause.

Representatives from Filipino organizations in The Netherlands extolled Ka Bel's firm grip on the activist principle of simple living and hard struggle and vowed to continue his fight and to live his example.

Migrante-Netherlands representative Ramy Compra said: Kami pong mga migranteng Pilipino ay humahanga sa inyo Ka Bel sa inyong katapatan sa uring manggagawa at sa sambayanang Pilipino. Masaya ka na rin siguro Ka Bel dahil hindi mabubura ang iyong magiting na diwa sa aming puso at maasahan mo na aming itataguyod ang mga prinsipyo na iyong ipinaglaban . ( We, Filipino migrants admire you Ka Bel for your loyalty to the working class and the Filipino people. You must be happy now to know that your great spirit will always remain in our hearts. You can be rest assured that we shall work for the principles that you fought for.)

Chico Taguba of LINKAP, Liga ng Kabataang Pilipino also gave a statement. The Rev. Cesar T. Taguba of the Ecumenical Ministry for Filipinos Abroad gave a short message on behalf of the church community.

Messages of condolences and solidarity with the family, friends, and comrades of Ka Bel were read. They came from organizations of migrant Filipinos and solidarity groups in Italy, the United Kingdom, Austria, Denmark, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands. Former colleagues of Ka Bel in the Kilusang Mayo Uno (May First Movement, KMU) who are now migrants in the UK and Austria sent in their own personal recollections of Ka Bel. A memorial gathering among Filipinos and Swiss was also held in Geneva, Switzerland organized by Migrante-Geneva.

Filipino migrants who came to know Ka Bel and met with him when he visited Europe described his passing as a great loss to the militant workers' movement in the Philippines, to the patriotic and democratic movement and a loss to the progressive movement of migrant Filipinos.

Others described him simply as sincere, hardworking, inspiring and a simple man.

Cultural workers from the People's Artists Network (PAN) rendered patriotic and heartwarming songs, including the song Manggagawa written by the great Filipino poet Jose Corazon De Jesus. Performers themselves couldn't control their emotions as they rendered this song in memory of Ka Bel and the unsung oppressed worker.

In his tribute to Ka Bel, NDFP Peace Panel chairperson Luis Jalandoni read the statement of the National Council of the NDFP that rendered to Ka Bel the highest honor as a great hero of the working class and Filipino people and great internationalist.

For all his great accomplishments and positions of honor he attained, he remained an unassuming person, closely integrated with the toiling masses and working people, exuding a radiant winning style of leadership. He was fearless and uncompromising in fighting oppressors and standing up for the interests of the people but very amiable to the working people and allies, especially to those suffering from injustice, Jalandoni said.

The NDFP National Council concluded by stating: The inspiration of Ka Bels life and commitment as a great proletarian fighter will live on in the hearts and minds of those who carry on the struggle and cause he selflessly lived for.

We are deeply saddened by the passing away of Ka Bel. We share the grief of the working class and oppressed peoples of the Philippines and the world. But we are consoled and inspired by his great achievements as a labor leader, as a patriot in the service of the Filipino people and as an internationalist fighting for the accomplishment of the historic mission of the working class and the national and social liberation of all oppressed peoples, stressed ILPS chairperson Professor Sison in his tribute to Ka Bel.

Reading from his message as ILPS chair on Ka Bel's passing, Professor Sison stressed: Ka Bel has won a place of glory in the history of the working class and people for upholding, defending and advancing their rights, interests and aspirations for a new and better world of greater freedom, democracy, social justice, development and peace against imperialism and all reaction. Ka Bel will always live in our hearts and minds. His legacy of fighting for national and social liberation will always inspire the people in the current and further generations.

Professor Sison also shared with those present his first encounter with Ka Bel during the early 1960's and how he came to know about Ka Bel during that period when the militant trade union movement and the patriotic movement were just starting to gain momentum in Philippine politics.

Ruth De Leon of DEFEND also recounted those times when Ka Bel escaped to Central Luzon after his self-release from prison. She also extolled Ka Bel's virtues via a poem she wrote for him.

The 3-hour tribute concluded with a vow to continue Ka Bel's fight, and the singing of the anthem of the working class, The Internationale. A small improvised altar with a portrait of Ka Bel was decked with red roses and dozens of twinkling candles.#

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 27 May 2008 10:41 )
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