Ilocos Sur wants Joma to grace bicentennial celebs next year

The Provincial Board of Ilocos Sur Province invited National Democratic Front of the Philippines (GRP) Chief Political Consultant Jose Maria Sison to grace the province’s bicentennial celebrations on February 2018.

In a resolution authored by Vice Governor Jerry Singson, seconded by member Pablito Sanidad Jr. and unanimously approved by other members last May 8, the board “humbly appeal(ed)” to Sison to “return to his home province and grace the Bicentennial Celebration of Ilocos Sur on February 2018.”

Sison was born and raised in Cabugao, Ilocos Sur.

“Being an extraordinary teacher, exceptional educator, renowned international lecturer and award-winning poet and writer, he is highly-acknowledged by the Provincial Government of Ilocos Sur as a product of the province that carries the most beautiful mind that can influence diverse communities,” the resolution said.

Sison “deserves the most special seat in the chronicles of Ilocos Sur over the past 200 years,” it added.

The resolution also cited Sison’s experience as a youth leader and labor and land reform activist as well as founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

“In 1986, he was recognized as one of the outstanding 200 Marxist theoreticians and revolutionary leaders since 1848 (by the) Biographical Dictionary of Marxism edited by Robert A. Gorman in London,” the resolution said.

The resolution also offered Ilocos Sur’s Bicentennial Celebrations as a possible venue for the signing of a peace agreement between the NDFP and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP), citing government chief negotiator Silvestre Bello III’s own roots in Santa town.

“Considering the same Ilocano blood flowing from (Sison and Bello)…the Provincial Government of Ilocos Sur opens its doors for a historic opportunity of unification on the occasion of Ilocos Sur’s Bicentennial Anniversary Celebration,” the resolution said.

In his reply to the board, Sison said he is grateful and honored by the formal invitation.

“Please convey to Vice Governor Jerry Singson and the Sangguniang Panlalawigan my high respect and deep gratitude for the honor and appeal in the resolution,” Sison told Ilocos Sur Board Secretary Marlon Flavier Tagorda.

“In principle I accept the appeal.  We can consequently cooperate in realizing my return to our beloved province,” Sison said.

Previously, Sison signified interest in returning to the Philippines if he is named as a National Artist or when the NDFP and the GRP sign a final peace agreement.

GRP President Rodrigo Duterte has also repeatedly invited Sison to return home.

The Corazon Aquino government cancelled Sison’s GRP-issued passport in 1987 while he was on a lecture tour of European universities. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)