By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
International League of Peoples’ Struggle
6 September 2010
We of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle express our sadness over the passing away of Ka Medardo Roda. We convey our most heartfelt condolences to his beloved family and to all his comrades in Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (PISTON), Kilusang Mayo Uno, Anakpawis and all other organizations of the toiling masses of workers and peasants.
All of us grieve the death of Ka Roda. But at the same time, we are gratified and gladdened by his legacy of hard work, arduous struggle and brilliant achievements in the service of the working class and the entire Filipino people. He was responsible for founding and building PISTON as the largest nationwide association of transport workers, especially jeepney drivers, and for leading the most effective transport strikes against the foreign oil monopolies and the puppet reactionary government in the last three decades.
Ka Roda toiled as a peasant at a very young age before he went to the city to become a taxi driver and then a jeepney driver. He became an outstanding leader of the working class and the people by standing up for their rights and interests and daring to fight the Marcos fascist dictatorship. He was illegally arrested and imprisoned on the false charge of rebellion in 1983. In the succeeding Aquino regime, he was also arrested on trumped up charges. He was thoroughly convinced by his bitter experience that revolutionary struggle was made necessary by the persistence of a ruling system that is servile to the imperialists and extremely corrupt, cruel and deceptive.
Ka Roda detested the exploitativeness and oppressiveness of the foreign monopolies, the big compradors and landlords. Thus, he was determined to contribute what he could to the people’s struggle for national liberation and democracy. He leaves us an everlasting legacy of resolute and militant struggle, sacrifices and concrete achievements. The people will always remember him, cherish his memory and draw inspiration from his enduring example as a patriot and proletarian fighter. ###