Highest Tribute to Comrade Ericson Acosta:
Artist, Activist, Martyr and Hero of the Filipino People
By Jose Maria Sison
December 6, 2022
As Chief Political Consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and as a fellow poet dedicated to the Philippine revolution, I wish to join the Filipino people, their revolutionary forces and the broad range of legal democratic forces in condemning the Marcos-Duterte ruling clique and its armed minions for the flagrant murder of the social activist Comrade Ericson Acosta on November 30, 2022 in the same area where his beloved wife Comrade Kerima Tariman had been brutally killed.
We are all outraged by the murder of Comrade Ericson, a poet and cultural worker, armed only with his pen. This murder has been committed within the policy framework of anti-people and anti-communist state terrorism agreed upon by US imperialism and the previous Duterte regime to continue under the Marcos-Duterte regime the all-out war policy to suppress both the armed revolutionary movement and the legal democratic movement through red-tagging, mass intimidation, abductions,torture and murder.
Having participated in the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations, as an NDFP resource person, particularly on the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER), he was under the protection of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees. He had the distinct honor of being part of the process that finalized the common draft on agrarian reform of the CASER co-signed by the Reciprocal Working Committees of the GRP and the NDFP Negotiating Panels in 2017.
But the Duterte regime soon terminated the GRP-NFP peace negotiations and started to implement the policy of killing NDFP personnel involved in the peace negotiations as negotiators, consultants, resource persons , staffers and others. Thus in conjunction with his policy of permanent termination of the peace negotiations and implementation of his AntiTerrorism Law, the state terrorists and de facto fascists themselves like Duterte and his immediate successors are goading the oppressed and exploited people to rise up in armed revolution.
As we mourn the loss of an outstanding patriot and revolutionary, let us celebrate and memorialize his brilliant achievements in striving to serve the people in their revolutionary struggle for national and social liberation. Let us gather the testimonies of all those who knew him best and worked with him closely. Let us ensure that his fruitful life, ideas and works are preserved as legacy to inspire the current and further generations.
Comrade Ericson excelled at ideological, political and cultural work. But he chose to focus on education and cultural work, to wield art as a weapon and to write poetry even while doing social investigation and mass work. With his academic training in political science and profound interest in culture, art and poetry, he found it of the highest value to study the Marxist theory and practice in art and literature in order to better serve the Filipino people in their new democratic revolution with a socialist perspective.
Before we took notice of him nationally as a social activist and political prisoner on trumped up charges in Calbayog, Samar where he was detained for 23 months in 2012-2013, Comrade Ericson had wide experience in cultural work. He participated in the formation of Alay Sining. He was the director and leading actor as Andres Bonifacio in the multi-media production of the play Monumento which was staged to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the old democratic revolution. His artistic talent included script writing and singing with the BAYAN general secretary as his favorite guitarist. He was among those responsible for reviving and revitalizing the Concerned Artists of the Philippines when for a certain period when it tended to be dormant.
While still an undergraduate in political science, at the University of the Philippines, he became a leader of the student alliance STAND-UP in 1974. He took an immediate and lasting interest in social investigation and mass work among the poor peasants and farm workers after he joined a team of students going to the countryside.
The farm workers and poor peasants became the focus of his mass work and the principal mass base of his educational and cultural work. He belonged to UMA (Ugnayan ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura) and supported the Anakpawis Party List. He was frequently in the countryside, especially where the mass struggles were intense. He was arrested twice in the countryside, as in San Jorge, Samar in 2012 and in Hacienda Luisita in 2013.
I am proud to have known Comrade Ericson personally and met him several times in the course of the formal meetings between the GRP and the NDFP Negotiating Panels in order to finalize and co-sign the common draft of the section on agrarian reform of the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms. As resource person of the NDFP Negotiating Panel, he made significant contributions to the draft, especially on the peasant question and land reform.
Comrade Ericson had a quiet and humble personality but also enjoyed the moments of creativity and performances with his fellow artists, social activists and the toiling masses. He was a highly-principled person unafraid of imprisonment or death in the course of the revolutionary struggle. He was resolute and militant.
He was fully committed to the Filipino people’s new democratic revolution. He was determined to contribute his best to the national and social liberation of his people from the clutches of the semicolonial and semifeudal system, especially from such traitors, butchers and plunderers as the Marcoses and Dutertes.
I thank Comrade Ericson for having written the script of The Guerrilla is a Poet. This biographical film on me has been screened before large audiences in the Philippines and abroad. It is an honor to me that his beloved wife requested me to write a review of his book of poems, Mula Tarima Hanggang iba Pang Tula at Awit, I appreciated highly that his poems further enriched the tradition of outstanding poets, like Amado V. Hernandez and Ho Chi Minh writing poems in prison to reach and inspire the people to fight the dominant foreign power and the local exploiting classes in the semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system.
Let us cherish and propagate further the legacy of Comrade Ericson Acosta to inspire the current and further generations ahead. In any case, this legacy is indestructible energy already running through the growing national democratic movement. The enemy can kill a patriot and revolutionary like him at any time. But more revolutionaries will arise to emulate his exemplary life and deeds.
Long live the legacy of Comrade Ericson Acosta!
Down with US imperialism, domestic feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism!
Down with the traitors, butchers and plunderers in the Marcos-Duterte fascist combine!
Long live live the people’s democratic revolution!
Total victory to the struggle of the Filipino people for national and social liberation!