We received a tragic news thru Facebook. Rogelio Rosal aka Ka Roger, the face of the revolutionary movement in the Philippines was dead.
He died four months ago by heart attack. He died after a lingering illness, he has survived here strokes from 1997. And he died in the field of struggle last June 2011. The news about his death was deferred and was announced only this October after his next of kin and family was informed. His wife died several years ahead in a gun battle with government troopers.
Rogelio Rosal was an ordinary Filipino working student. He was peasant /student.They were so poor that he had to work in order to save so he can enroll and study as a student in a college in Batangas.
At the same time he was working, he has to save and stop going to school from time to time. A typical travails of a working student in every Third world country like the Philippines.
He was first a sympathizer to student activism and later an active participant in the First Quarter Storm (FQS). He became a member of the Kabataang Makabayan (KM) in Batangas, and later when he was arrested and imprisoned during martial law.
With nine others, he escaped from the PC Camp in Laguna and took arms. He joined the NPA and the armed struggle, The rest is history.
When had good times at exchanging stories during our visits to his camp, we joked that he is our idol. He replied with the usual peasant modesty;
“ Actually, you are my idols. During the FQS, when I was a working student, I listen to your speeches and learned much from you. That is why I became a student activist myself.”
He was one of the pioneer in the revolutionary movement in Southern Tagalog. He was thrust into the limelight in the 1986-1987 peace talks when he became the spokesperson of the NPA Melito Glor Command.
He was a true organization man because he do not like to be a Spokesperson of the movement in Southern Tagalog during the ceasefire but because he has to obey orders, he has to comply.
If there is a thing Ka.Roger regret is that :“Napasubo na ako, Sabi ko na nga ba, nalantad lang tayong lahat dahil sa pagpasok sa ceasefire na iyon noong 1986-1987.”
The AFP gained 25% of intelligence during the peace talks and many leaders of the movement were exposed like Ka Roger. He later became the official spokesperson of the revolutionary movement in the 1993.
A testament to his wit, popularity with the masses and personification of the movement, he bested all counter-revolutionaries and military spokesmen. He was well respected by the media and was known for his cool and respect.