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A Tribute to Ka Oris

Anti Imperialist Action Ireland extends its sincere condolences to the family, friends and Comrades of New People’s Army spokesman Jorge Madlos, known by his revolutionary name “Ka Oris”. For many socialist republicans in Ireland, Ka Oris has been the face of the Filipino revolution. The cause he gave a voice to is an inspiration to us, we continue to support the bravery and selflessness of red fighters in the Philippines such as Ka Oris.

The New People’s Army is a guerrilla organisation lead by the Communist Party of the Philippines which has been waging a people’s war against the corrupt and oppressive Filipino state since 1969. Thousands strong, these men and women fight for causes such as the driving out of foreign corporations, the overthrow of oppressive dictators, environmental justice, land reform, LGBTQ+ rights, and a progressive programme which they call “National Democracy”. Ka Oris left everything he had behind and joined this cause on September 22nd 1972, at the age of 23. That day, fascist dictator Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law, which he used to govern the country with an iron fist for the rest of his rule. In response the young Jorge Madlos and hundreds of other students at the Central Mindanao University pledged to take up arms for the revolution. Madlos and his comrades then escaped into the hinterlands and joined the New People’s Army.

After that fateful night, for 49 years, Ka Oris devoted his life to liberating his country and freeing his people. He strongly expressed his well placed faith in the revolution to the end. “The people‚Äôs war will continue to advance towards victory”, he said last year, “With heightened fervor, we are more than ever determined to perform our main historic task defined by the Party of smashing the main armed apparatus of the reactionary state as the prerequisite in accomplishing national liberation and democracy and paving the way for a bright socialist future”.

Over this long and fruitful revolutionary career he has fulfilled a number of roles. He has been a guerrilla fighter in the mountains, an underground urban organiser dodging the eyes of the secret police, and most famously, the public face of the New People’s Army. The role of spokesperson of the New People’s Army was an unbelievably dangerous and daring one. Ka Oris had to dodge military manhunts as he restlessly travelled long distances around the country, sneaking between hidden guerrilla fronts to deliver crucial statements to red fighters. Most risky of all his roles perhaps, Ka Oris had to organise conferences with numerous members of the press in conditions where even the tiniest breach of secrecy could have cost him and his comrades their lives. For decades Ka Oris never rested, continuing his act of appearing to the public eye, and then vanishing without a trace, having to constantly evade discovery by a successive line of brutal military commanders. How this man managed to fulfil such a heroic role with such commitment and passion, even at the age of 72, is inspiring.

Ka Oris can definitely be described as a veteran of the struggle due to his long life of service. However, unlike his body, his heart never grew old. Despite his age, he was always the same young rebel who ran away from his university all those years ago. At the time of his tragic assassination, he was still Jorge Madlos, and the fiery chants and raised fists of student protests had never left his soul. Ka Oris was always a great believer in the Filipino youth and knew that the next generations were the greatest candidates to lead the trail he and his comrades blazed. In January this year for example, he said of the Filipino youth that “They are capable of intelligently discerning, through concrete and critical analysis of history and society, that only through revolution can genuine social change be achieved. They have the wisdom, courage and resolve to devote their intelligence, aggressiveness, militancy and very lives to the revolution”.

Ka Oris was eventually discovered on a motorcycle journey to receive medical treatment. Intercepted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, he and his medical aide Ka Pika were in no position to fight, but instead of being simply captured and sent to a hospital, they were gunned down in a criminal act befitting of gangsters. Ka Oris once taught us that as revolutionaries, “Our retirement comes in death”. His own life and his own work as a people’s fighter is evidence of this. Just like James Connolly and Seamus Costello, Ka Oris is a man who every day, devoted his efforts to the fight for the ordinary people of his country who he loved so dearly, and just like those two men, he made the ultimate sacrifice for the greater good, killed in cold blood but persisting in the warm blood of our beating hearts.

Anti Imperialist Action Ireland reiterates the call of the Communist Party of the Philippines for the return of the body of Ka Oris to his family so that a proper funeral may be conducted. We condemn his brutal murder at the hands of the US-backed Armed Forces of the Philippines and the war criminal General Brawner. We will never forget everything Ka Oris gave not just to the revolution in the Philippines, but to revolutionary movements around the world who walk in his footsteps.

Long live the memory of Jorge Madlos, Ka Oris!
Mabuhay Ka Oris!

Long live the New People’s Army!
Mabuhay ang Bagong Hukbong Bayan!

Long live the revolution!
Mabuhay ang rebolusyon!

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