“Ka Roger” dead at 64
By AARON RECUENCO, Manila Bulletin
October 9, 2011
Gregorio “Ka Roger” Rosal, for many years the spokesman for the communist insurgency in the Philippines, is dead, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) revealed Sunday.
In a statement posted on its website Sunday afternoon, the CPP said Rosal succumbed to a heart attack last June 22 in a guerrilla front in Luzon at the age of 64.
“The entire membership of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), Red fighters of the New People’s Army, and the Filipino people are one with his family and friends in mourning his death,” the statement read.
Marco Valbuena, the media liaison of the CPP Information Bureau, said the public announcement was delayed to allow CPP officials to inform Ka Roger’s daughters of their father’s demise.
“Intense military operations prevented information from reaching his daughters with dispatch. Ka Roger’s siblings have also been informed of his passing,” Valbuena said.
The third of the six children of sugarcane planters in Batangas, Rosal got his first taste of militant activism when he joined a small group called Kabataang Gabay ng Bayan, a Batangueño activist group, and later the Kabataang Makabayan.
He became more militant when martial law was declared in 1972. The following year he was arrested and detained in a military camp in Batangas City.
In November 1973, he and nine others bolted jail. It was after his escape that he joined the CPP-New People’s Army and became part of the guerrilla front established in the Laguna-Quezon border along the Sierra Madre mountains–the so-called Larangan ng Kagitingan or Front of Heroism.
By 1975-76, Ka Roger had become part of the first organizing team in the Quezon-Bicol Zone. He eventually led the guerrilla front committee in the area.
It was when he was appointed as the CPP spokesman in 1993 when the name “Ka Roger” gained prominence as he readily acceded to radio interviews. He was the one who initiated the policy of inviting mediamen to rebel camps.
“For more than a decade, he served as Party spokesperson and headed the CPP Information Bureau. From VHF radios to modern cellphones, he used all methods of connecting with the mass media to transmit nationwide news from the guerrilla fronts,” the statement read.
“Ka Roger’s voice and his straightforward explanations of complex issues were eagerly awaited daily by Red fighters and ordinary folk throughout the country,” it added.
Ka Roger’s health began to deteriorate when he suffered his first stroke in 1997. He lived through another stroke in 2000 and recovered.
It was his unusual absence in media interviews that rumors of his death started to circulate in 2006, absence following a third stroke.
The military repeatedly offered him medical assistance after confirming that he was in a bad way but Rosal repeatedly turned them down.
On October 15, all units of the NPA will fall in formation to pay tribute to Ka Roger. At exactly 12 noon, they will carry out a gun salute in his memory, said Valbuena.
“Ka Roger leaves behind a legacy of triumphs and memories that are permanently etched in the revolutionary annals of the Filipino people,” the CPP said.
[The AFP’s false ‘consolations’ and other inappropriate disingenuous remarks were edited out of the posting of this article. – Frontlines ed.]