The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) declared August 8 to be its National Day of Remembrance and Tribute to Fidel Agcaoili, National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Negotiating Panel chairperson, who died last week, July 23.
Agcaoili would have turned 76 years old on August 8.
“The Central Committee calls on all revolutionary forces, progressives, patriotic and democratic forces, migrants and other oppressed sectors, political detainees, as well as various anti-imperialist organizations and personalities across the globe to conduct tribute meetings and other activities wherever they may be to commemorate and celebrate Ka Fidel’s life of struggle and service to the people and revolution,” the CPP’s Central Committee in a statement Wednesday, July 29, said.
Agcaoili died of pulmonary arterial rupture at the NDFP International Office in Utrecht, The Netherlands.
His remains are scheduled to be cremated Friday, July 31 in the Dutch City. His ashes will be eventually flown home to the Philippines, the NDFP said.
In its statement, the CPP said the entire revolutionary movement mourns the passing of who they regard “a hero of the Filipino revolution,” one who “gave blood and sweat, and time and talent to advance the Filipino people’s great cause to achieve national and social liberation, as part of advancing the international working class movement for socialism and communism” for five decades.
The group recalled that Agcaoili joined the Student Cultural Association of the University of the Philippines in the 1960s and helped found the Kabataang Makabayan in 1964. He was later elected to the CPP’s Central Committee in 1970.
Agcaoili was captured in 1974 along with wife Rosario and their two sons. He spent nearly 11 years in jail as the longest-held political prisoner under Ferdinand Marcos’ martial law, enduring intense physical and psychological torture, including solitary confinement.
Upon his release, Agcaoili co-founded the human rights group Samahan ng Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) and the political party Partido ng Bayan and helped in the preparations of the 1986-1987 peace negotiations between the NDFP and the Corazon Aquino government.
In 1988, Agcaoili sought refuge in Spain due to threats from rightist elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and joined the NDFP Negotiating Panel in 1989.
He took over from long-time NDFP chief negotiator Luis Jalandoni in October 2016.
Facilitators of the Royal Norwegian Government praised Agcaoili as a negotiator.
‘Kind, dedicated negotiator’
In a tweet, Norwegian Special Envoy to the Philippine Peace Process Idun Tvedt sais she is “deeply saddened by the sudden death” of Agcaoili.
“He was a professional and dedicated negotiator in the search for a peace solution to the armed conflict in the Philippines. We send our heartfelt condolences to his family,” Tvedt said.
Elisabeth Slattum, Tvedt’s predecessor, for her part said Agcaoili was a negotiator “with great dedication and heart for the cause.”
“In the numerous meetings and rounds of negotiation that took place in 2016-2017, he was always kind, respectful and cooperative to the Norwegian facilitators. I will remember him fondly, and I’m sending my heartfelt condolences to his wife and family,” Slattum said.
The CPP said Agcaoili’s contributions are thousands of strands woven into the broad fabric of the Filipino people’s struggle.
“His memory will always remain in the people’s hearts and will inspire them as they tread the difficult path of the national democratic and socialist revolutions,” the CPP said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)