We of the International League of Peoples' Struggle express our sadness
over the passing away of Ka Medardo Roda. We convey our most heartfelt
condolences to his beloved family and to all his comrades in Pagkakaisa ng
mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (PISTON), Kilusang Mayo Uno,
Anakpawis and all other organizations of the toiling masses of workers and
All of us grieve the death of Ka Roda. But at the same time, we are
gratified and gladdened by his legacy of hard work, arduous struggle and
brilliant achievements in the service of the working class and the entire
Filipino people. He was responsible for founding and building PISTON as
the largest nationwide association of transport workers, especially
jeepney drivers, and for leading the most effective transport strikes
against the foreign oil monopolies and the puppet reactionary government
in the last three decades.
Ka Roda toiled as a peasant at a very young age before he went to the city
to become a taxi driver and then a jeepney driver. He became an
outstanding leader of the working class and the people by standing up for
their rights and interests and daring to fight the Marcos fascist
dictatorship. He was illegally arrested and imprisoned on the false charge
of rebellion in 1983. In the succeeding Aquino regime, he was also
arrested on trumped up charges. He was thoroughly convinced by his bitter
experience that revolutionary struggle was made necessary by the
persistence of a ruling system that is servile to the imperialists and
extremely corrupt, cruel and deceptive.
Ka Roda detested the exploitativeness and oppressiveness of the foreign
monopolies, the big compradors and landlords. Thus, he was determined to
contribute what he could to the people's struggle for national liberation
and democracy. He leaves us an everlasting legacy of resolute and militant
struggle, sacrifices and concrete achievements. The people will always
remember him, cherish his memory and draw inspiration from his enduring
example as a patriot and proletarian fighter. ###
PARANGAL KAY KA MEDARDO RODA
TAGAPANGULO EMERITUS NG PISTON
6 Septyembre 2010
Ni Prof. Jose Maria Sison
International League of Peoples’ Struggle
International League of Peoples’ Struggle ay nagpapaabot ng aming
kalungkutan sa pagpanaw ni Ka Medardo Roda. Ipinaabot namin ang aming
taus-pusong pakikiramay sa kanyang mahal na pamilya at mga kasamahan sa
Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (PISTON),
Kilusang Mayo Uno, Anakpawis at sa lahat ng mga organisasyon ng masang
anakpawis ng mga manggagawa at magsasaka.
Lahat tayo ay nagdadalamhati sa
pagpanaw ni Ka Roda. Ngunit tayo rin ay nalulugod at natutuwa sa kanyang
ipinamanang masikhay na paggawa, walang-pagod na pakikibaka at mga
maningning na tagumpay sa paglilingkod sa uring manggagawa at sa buong
sambayanang Pilipino. Siya ang responsable sa pagkakatatag at pagpapalakas
ng PISTON bilang pinakamalaking pambansang asosasyon ng mga manggagawa sa
trasportasyon, laluna sa hanay ng mga tsuper ng jeepney, gayundin sa
pangunguna sa mga pinakaepektibong welga sa trasportasyon laban sa mga
dayuhang monopolyo ng langis at ng mga papet na reaksyonaryong gobyerno
nitong nakarang tatlong dekada.
Si Ka Roda ay naghirap bilang
isang magsasaka sa maagang edad bago siya tumungo sa lunsod at naging
isang tsuper ng taksi at sa paglaon bilang isang tsuper ng jeepney. Siya
ay naging isang natatanging lider ng uring manggagawa at ng mamamayan sa
pamamagitan ng kanyang pagtindig para sa kanilang mga karapatan at
kapakanan at sa kanyang mapangahas ng paglaban sa pasisitang diktadurang
Marcos. Siya ay iligal na inaresto at ikinulong batay sa bulaang habla ng
rebelyon noong 1983. Noong sumunod na rehimeng Aquino, siya ay muling
inaresto batay sa mga gawa-gawang kaso. Ang kanyang mapait na karanasan
ang nagkumbinsi sa kanya na ang patuloy na pananatili ng isang sistemang
sunud-sunuran sa mga imperyalista at isang sistemang korap, mapaniil at
mapanlinlang ang dahilan kung bakit kinakailangan ang isang
Kinamumuhian ni Ka
Roda ang pagsasamantala at pang-aapi ng mga dayuhang monopolyo, ng mga
malaking kumprador at panginoong maylupa. Kung gayon, siya ay
determinadong nag-ambag ng kanyang makakaya para sa pakikibaka ng
mamamayan para sa pambansang kalayaan at demokrasya. Nag-iwan siya sa atin
ng walang-hanggang pamana ng matatag at militanteng pakikibaka, mga
sakripisyo at kongkretong mga tagumpay. Laging gugunitain ng mamamayan si
Ka Roda, itatangi ang kanyang alaala at hahango ng inspirasyon mula sa
kanyang di-magmamaliw na halimbawa bilang isang patriyotiko at
The readers of Arkibong Bayan are
invited to click:
http://www.josemariasison.org/ This is the authorized website
of Prof. Jose Maria Sison. It has been recently restructured and improved
by its editors. Thank you for your attention.
Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano
and Joel Maglunsod read a tribute to Ka Roda
Ayaw ko na sa kung
nasaan ako ngayon.
Kaya nang mamukhaan ko
ang ninanais na destinasyon.
Hinanap ko ang daan at
pamamaraan na tutunton
at maghahatid sa akin sa
inaasaam asam na lokasyon.
"Bawal tumawid, may
namatay na dito" ang siyang babala--
Ngunit hindi takot ang
bumabalot sa bawat napahandusay na kasama.
Hindi pag-urong ang
naging tugon sa isinasaboy nilang pangamba.
Tuloy ang pagtawid sa
mapanganib na kalsada.
Maraming sasakyan ang
May mga barker pang
nagtatawag at nangeengganyo.
Ngunit ang nais ko'y
makalulan sa sasakyang maghahatid sa paraiso.
kung saan may
pagkakapantay-pantay at may dignidad ang bawat tao.
Sa wakas natagpuan ang
sa kabilang panig ng
mundong, iilan lang ang nakababatid.
May pananabik sa bawat
palulan sa pagsisimula
ng isang paglalakbay.
Ngunit ang dyip ay
waring karo ng patay!
Waring isang prusisyong
kung kaninong Poon ay alay!
Napakabagal ng pagusad.
Tumitigil sa bawat kanto!
Isinasakay kahit ang
asong walang malay, nakaantabay!
Umaandar ang oras at ang
lahat ng lulan, ay naiinip.
Ngunit pasipol-sipol pa
ang drayber na sa una'y nakakabwisit.
Aniya, "walang iwanan sa
ang bawat kanto't maging kabarkada"
Kapos nga naman ang
tagumpay na hindi kayo kasama
Kapos nga naman ang
tagumpay na iilan lamang ang nakakaunawa
Kapos nga naman ang
tagumpay kung kami-kami lang ang makikinabang
maglilikha lamang muli
ng bagong uring mangingibabaw, at panibagong tunggalian.
Dagdag pa ng drayber, na
at Pakilusin ang Masa..
..turuan silang tumindig
sa kanilang karapatan, makibaka!"
Ganito aniya, tayo tunay
na makakaapak sa tagumpay, mga kasama!
Sama-sama, walang iwanan
patungo sa hinahangad
Matagalan ang digmang
na wawasak dito sa
nabubulok na kaayusan!
Note from the author:
Naalala ko lang, isang tulang naisulat nuong
Marso ng taong ito. Nang mabagot sa gitna ng byahe sa isang mabagal umusad
na jeep. Upon reflection, ito ang kinalabasang tula. Nirerepost ko bilang
alay kay Ka Roda, kahit hindi kami personal na magkakilala. Maliban sa
pagiging dakilang lider ng industriya ng transport, dak...ilang
driver din siyang bumaybay sa isang byaheng tagumpay ang tungo.
TAYO AY ISANG HANAY
(Para kay Ka Alex, Ka Roda, at iba pang bayani ng rebolusyon)
- NONILON V. QUEANO
10 Setyembre 2010
tayo’y nagmahal nang wagas sa sinintang bayan,
Nagsilbi sa masa, nag-asam ng laya,
Doon’y nagkikita: may nanay at tatay, may lolo at lola,
(Tulad ni Ka Roda),
At, mga kabataang
(Tulad ni Ka Alex)
Na suong ang buhay sa pakikibaka.
Kung hindi man armas,
Ang sukbit ay tula at awit,
Pinagbuklod tayo ng mga panata,
Tulad ng kay Rizal, Bonifacio, Gabriela
Lorena, Eman, Lerry, at maraming iba pa
(Sinlapad ang lista ng langit at lupa),
At ngayo’y, tulad ni Ka Alex,
Tulad ni Ka Roda
Tayo’y nabubuong isang hanay,
Walang nagtatanong kung saang uri nagbuhat
(Bagaman marami ay sa uring salat)
Di na mahalaga kung saan bang siglo o anong dekada
At, tulad sa gabi ng mga pangarap,
Aawitin natin ang katotohanan at ipamumudmod
At payayabungin na isang halaman
Hanggang mamutiktik ng bunga’t bulaklak.
Kung masa’y inapi, ginahasa, pinagnakawan, pinaslang
(Sa isang asyenda, bukirin, o saanmang pook trabahuhan )
Tayo’y libong sulong kagyat nagliliyab
Upang suhayan ang lakad ng bayan,
May mamumuno sa mga aklasan,
(Tulad ni Ka Roda),
(Katulad ni Alex,
Na ibibida ang bakbakan, ang mga nalagas, pinosasan
Paglago ng hanay, inaning tagumpay)
May aawit at tutula nang buong timyas sa pulang umaga
(Tulad ng Lorena o ng isang Eman)
Sa lahat ng lugal, sa lahat ng bayan.
Ngunit hindi bulag ang
(Alam natin ‘yan)
Tulad sa butil ng palay na tatahip-tahipin
Sa kumpas ng hangin,
Ipapalaala na lahat ng ito na pinagbuwisan--
Kawalang-hustisya, gutom, hirap,
Baluktot na isip, pagkagahaman, mga pagtataksil,
Kawalang-pag-asa, at pagkalugmok ng pinakadakila sa atin
Ay lagim na niluto sa kawa ng imperyalismong
Kumamkam sa lupa, langit, dagat
At bampira nganing, sisibain tayo hanggang kamatayan.
Subalit, may awit sa mga
puso nating di maparam-param;
Di mapugto ang ngiti tuwing may tagumpay,
Tula’y walang ubos kahit na sa bukas
Muli tayong umang sa pakikilaban
A, sa rebolusyon, walang kahulilip ang kaligayahan.
Mayroon ding araw
(Katulad ng ngayon)
Na kalat ang dilim, tila ba uulan
May unos ba kaya?
At ang dalamhati’y malamig na hanging humihihip-hihip,
Mayroon ding araw
Na buhos ng luha’y ating pipigilin,
Kapag may kasamang nalagas na akala natin’y laging naririyan,
Kapag may makatang, katulad ni Alex,
O may manggagawang minahal ng labis, tulad ni Ka Roda
Na habang panahong kaaga-agapay ay bibiglang lilisan
Mayroon ding araw na puspos ng lungkot,
Ngunit lilipas din.
Tulad din sa lahat ng bayang pinaslang,
Pamuling aawit, pamuling tutula, pamuling susulong sa pakikibaka
Tayong isang hanay.
Tribute to Ka Medardo Roda, man of the
masses and proletarian leader Tuesday, 07 September 2010
National Democratic Front of the Philippines
We mourn the death of Ka Medardo Roda, man of the masses and proletarian
leader. We convey our most heartfelt condolences to his beloved wife,
Teresa Yunzon Velasquez, their seven children, to all his comrades in
Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (PISTON) and
his many comrades and friends in other organizations of the toiling
He tilled the fields as a peasant youth, then became a taxi driver and
subsequently a jeepney driver. He was active in the local organization of
jeepney drivers in Metro Manila and was elected their president. In 1981,
when the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU – May First Movement) was consolidating
its transport committee, PISTON was established and within months, Ka Roda
became its President.
Under his leadership PISTON became the biggest nationwide organization of
jeepney drivers and transport workers. It launched effective transport
strikes and militant demonstrations against the fascist Marcos
dictatorship and the oil monopolies. Ka Roda was fearless and outspoken in
denouncing the dictatorship's anti-worker and anti-people policies. He led
rallies against the repeated oil price hikes.
He was arrested and detained several times on trumped up charges of
rebellion. Undaunted by the threats and harassment of the dictator who
branded him “the most rebellious driver the Philippines ever had”, he
never wavered in his commitment to the cause of the proletariat.
Even in the most difficult and tense moments, he kept his cool. His sense
of humour and quick wit were well known. Crispin “Ka Bel” Beltran, the
President of KMU and a very close friend of Ka Roda, loved to tell stories
about Ka Roda's sense of humor and quick wit under difficult situations.
Ka Roda loved the masses, and they in turn loved him and looked up to him
as their leader.
Ka Roda has made a sterling contribution to the advance to the people's
struggle for national and social liberation, demonstrating in practice
over three decades the effective leadership of the working class in the
people's democratic revolution. His legacy as a man of the masses and an
outstanding proletarian leader will live on in the hearts of the
proletariat and people of the Philippines.
LUIS G. JALANDONI
Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte and
Bayan Muna Pres. Satur Ocampo with the widow of Ka Roda, Tess
Kung Gabi ang Dilim
Para kay Alex Remollino at Medardo “Ka Roda” Roda
ni Rolando B. Tolentino
Sept. 8, 2010
Kung gabi ang dilim, ano ang aantayin? Walang mga kulisap na paroon at
parito sa pinagmumulang ilaw sa poste. Walang alitaptap dahil walang
aninong tangkay na mapapagdapuan. Walang masisipat dahil ang kalawakan ay
isang buong itim na sumang kinumot.
Kung gabi ang dilim, paano ang pamamaalam? Walang maaninag, walang
makukumusta, walang mabibilinan, walang mapapasalamatan, walang
masasabihan na hanggang sa muli. Walang tao, walang anino. Ang paligid ng
karimlan ay isang uniberso ng anino.
Kung gabi ang dilim, ang mga talinhaga ang tanging pumapalaot, naghahanap
ng dalampasigan ng pakikibakang mapapadparan. Ng mga kasamang namamaalam
sa kawalan, ng mga naiwang akda at tulang natapos at hindi kailanman
matutuldukan. Ng mga pag-ibig na bumabalot, tulad ng init sa magdamag.
Kung gabi ang dilim, ang mga mitsa sa engkwentro ng platoon, sulo sa
libo-libong nagmamartsa, gaas na lampara ng unyonista sa piket,
magsasakang nag-aamba sa pagbubukang-liwayway, manunulat na mag-isang
tumitipak sa karimlan. Ito ay mga ilaw sa karimlang bumabalot sa lahat.
Kung gabi ang dilim, siyang namamaalam ay siyang naiiwan. At ang habilin
ay higit pang kumilos sa balot ng kadiliman, habang ang dilim ay
kinakalinga ng kanyang mabubuting anak.
Kung gabi ang dilim at tila kawalan-katiyakan, ang tagumpay ay siya ring
Remembering Ka Roda's service to
PISTORN leaders from various
Medardo Roda, pioneer of Philippine drivers’ movement,
Pioneer of the progressive drivers’ movement in the country, staunch
fighter for the rights of the marginalized, and a most endeared transport
leader for many drivers and poor people, Medardo “Ka Roda” Roda, passed
away on September 5 due to cardiac arrest.
Ka Roda, arguably one of the most well known and undoubtedly one of the
most well-loved transport leaders the country has ever had, is the
Chairman Emeritus of PISTON (Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at
Operator Nationwide) until he died. PISTON is one of the federations under
Kilusang Mayo Uno and is the organization where Ka Roda concretized his
struggle for nationalism and genuine democracy for more than 30 years.
From peasant to driver, early hardwork and engagement
Born on October 27, 1934, to a peasant family in Libmanan, Camarines Sur,
Ka Roda started tilling farm fields at age 12. In between school, he
regularly helped his father in the farm. He went to Bicol Central Academy
and was a consistent student leader until he finished high school in 1954.
He went to Manila after high school to search for a livelihood that could
finance him to college. He stayed with his brother in Cavite who was a
body guard-driver to then Senator Justiniano Montano. The Montanos gave
him employment and sent him to an automotive school in 1957. When he
finished the short course, he was asked to assist in managing the car
rental business of Ciriaco Montano, the eldest son of the senator.
He left the job in 1960 and started driving a taxi in the 8th of July of
that year, as Ka Roda exactly recalled. After becoming a hold-up victim
for the fourth time in 1978, he decided to quit being a taxi driver.
Ka Roda transferred to jeepney driving, and started to ply the Cubao-V
Luna route. There he was exposed to meetings and discussions of transport
organizations, where he was always vocal and active. He was quickly
elected as president of the local drivers’ and operators’ association.
Leading drivers against a dictator
KMU was then consolidating its ‘transport committee’ which led to the
founding of PISTON in 1981. In July 1981, Ka Roda was elected as Third
Vice President of the organization. After a few months, he eventually took
over as President of PISTON.
One of the first campaigns he led was the scrapping of PD 1605, which
cancels a driver’s license on his third offense in the street, no matter
how small it is. When they hold transport strikes, Ka Roda remembered how
mad the Quezon City Mayor’s office was to them, as they could really
paralyze the streets.
Because of their strong protests against government exploitation of
drivers, oil price hikes, and people’s issues as well, Ka Roda easily
earned the ire of the Marcos regime. On September 5, 1983, he was arrested
and charged with rebellion under the Arrest, Seize and Seizure Order (ASSO).
He was arrested together with other KMU leaders, like Crispin “Ka Bel”
Beltran, who were ‘cracked down’ in August to September of that year.
After one year and three months, Ka Roda and some of his colleagues
managed to win for their release.
From Marcos fan to enemy
Marcos would never know that he would find such a staunch enemy with Ka
Roda, as the latter was actually his fan before. “I guess, it’s my
admiration for effective law enforcement or my experience with the robbers
that drew me closer to liking the Martial law,” Ka Roda said in an
interview with the Center for Trade Union and Human Rights.
But when Ka Roda started to pay attention to the problems faced by
drivers, enagaged in educational discussions with them, and determined the
roots of the crises that plagued drivers and majority of the Filipinos
alike, he became certain about the accountability of the state – ruled by
Marcos then and led by Noynoy Aquino now.
Ka roda even recalled of how Marcos eventually tagged him: “the most
rebellious driver the Philippines ever had. Gago talaga si Marcos,” Ka
Roda said in a video tribute ‘Ruta ni Ka Roda’ by Kodao Productions.
Ka Roda was also arrested by succeeding regimes, in 1988 and 1990.
Loved by comrades
Ka Roda is one progressive leader who can cite specific provisions of the
Philippine Constitution to use it against wrongdoings of the government
itself. In a tribute held last February 14, 2009 entitled ‘Labs Ko Si Ka
Roda,’ current Anakpawis Partylist Representative Rafael Mariano recited
some of Ka Roda’s favorite lines: “Public office is a public trust…
Sovereignty resides in the people”. To which, Ka Roda quickly added “..and
all government authority emanates from them.”
Ka Roda was also known to be cheerful and entertaining to his comrades.
His colleagues also remember ka Roda as one who can remain cool and
clear-headed when engaging in debates within the organization.
Sickness and continuing struggle
Ka Roda was attacked by stroke in February of 2002. The left side of his
body was paralyzed. But despite his condition, he continued to give
valuable opinions on how to better advance the struggle of drivers’ and
He suffered more strokes in 2002 and 2003. On his fifth stroke on
September 2 last week, he was confined at the East Avenue Medical Center.
Then after days of struggling in the hospital, a cardiac arrest due to
multiple seizures took away his life at 2:20pm on September 5.
Ka Roda is a proud father of seven, five daughters and two sons, to a
loving wife Teresita Yunzon Velasquez.
His remains will lie at St. Peter Memorial Chapel, Quezon Avenue from the
morning of September 6th. Drivers, workers, and people’s organizations
will pay tribute to him in the nights of his wake, and vow to continue his
KMU Chairperson Elmer Labog
Bayan Muna President Satur
Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte
Renato Reyes, BAYAN Secretary
What makes a hero?
By Jose Maria Sison
It’s not the manner of death
That makes someone a hero
It is the meaning drawn
From the struggles against the foe.
There is the hero who dies in the battlefield,
There is the hero who dies of hunger and disease,
There is the hero who dies of some accident,
There is the hero who dies of old age.
Whatever is the manner of death
There is a common denominator
A hero serves the people
To his very last breath.
10 December 1977
The readers of Arkibong Bayan are invited to click:
http://www.josemariasison.org/ This is the authorized website
of Prof. Jose Maria Sison. It has been recently restructured and improved
by its editors. Thank you for your attention.
Para sa Inyo, Mga Kasamang Kampyon ng Bayan
(Alay kina Alex at Ka Roda)
ni Dreamworker too
Kung papaano kayo umanib
Sa sanlaksang kandilang nagsaboy-liwanag,
Kung papaano kayo nakiguhit
Ng pagbabago na pluma ng taumbayan ang gamit,
Kung papaano kayo naghinagpis nang tahimik
Habang kung di nakangiti't umaawit
ay mithiin ng mamamayan ang buong-tapang na inuusal...
Sa kabila ng pighati sa inyong pagpanaw,
sa halimbawa, lakas at buhay na inyong ibinahagi
na sana'y aming madugtungan ng katumbas na sigasig.
Para kina Ka Alex at Ka Roda
ni Rey Casambre
Tiyak habang kayo'y payapang
Mga kasama't kaibigang nakatipo'y nakikiramay
Nalulungkot, nanghihinaya't nalulumbay
Namimighati sa inyong pagkawalay.
Tiyak na nagiging usap-usapan
kung ano ang dahilan ng inyong kamatayan,
ano ang dumapong imbing karamdaman
Ano ba't di ito linunasan, nalabanan.
Maaaring mapansin ang pagkakaiba
ng dagliang pagbagsak ng katawan na batang-bata pa
sa naratay na beteranong panday sa pakikibaka
Kapwa marami sanang maipaglilingkod pa
O kaya'y mapansi't maihambing ang pagkakatulad
Ng kamay na mapanlikhang gumamit ng panulat
At yaong sa manibela't mikropono'y humawak
Sa hangad na mapalaya ang bayang hinahamak.
Masdan niyo, Ka Alex, Ka Roda, kaming narito ngayon
Upang sa inyo'y magpugay at mga aral makalikom
Damhin niyo ang lungkot na sa ami'y nakalambong
Sa panlulumo't dalamhati pilit na bumabangon.
Di nga ba't sa inyong pagpanaw tiyak uusbong
Mga kasamang prinsipyo at gawai ninyo'y isusulong
Buhay ninyo'y halimbawa, modelo't inspirasyon
Sa pagpupunyaging maabot ang dakilang layon.
Balang araw walang magtatanong sa dahilan ng kamatayan
Diareya, diabetes, diaboliko't anupaman,
Tanging mahalaga at siyang matatandaan
Paglilingkod na walang imbot, hithit nang kadakilaan.
Walang dahilan kung bakit di kayang gawin
Kalungkuta't dalamhati ay aming ibabaling
Sa rebolusyonaryong alab, sipag at giting
Hanggang araw ng tagumpay, tiyak na mararating!
KADAMAY Chairperson Leona
Willy Marbella, KMP
Ferdie Gaite, COURAGE
Fr. Dionito Cabillas
Dr. Geneve Rivera-Reyes,
Health Alliance for Democrary
A member of
the Joint Secretariat of the NDFP Joint Monitoring Committee reads the
message of Luis Jalandoni, Chairperson of the NDFP Negotiating Panel,
while the NDFP flag is displayed in front of the casket of Ka Roda. A
message from the Revolutionary Council of Trade Unions (RCTU) and a
message from the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) are also read
while an RCTU flag and a CPP banner are displayed. Both messages honor Ka
Roda for his patriotic work in fighting for the interest of the toiling
masses, particularly the workers in the transport industry, and against
the imperialists, landlords and bureaucrat capitalists.
Huli kong nakita si Ka Roda sa isang
tribute sa kanya noong Pebrero 14, 2009. Naimbitahan ang People’s
Chorale na umawit ng mga lumang awitin na paborito ni Ka Roda.
Ang repertoire ng People’s
Chorale para sa araw na iyon ay Moonriver, Fernando ng Abba na me lyrics
na “there was something in the air
that night, the stars were bright Fernando (na pinalitan namin ng
Medardo), Here, There and Everywhere, at Something Stupid. Pero sa huli,
ang 2 kantang inawit namin ay Moonriver at Around the World. Pula ang ni-require
na damit para sa mga dadalo at magtatanghal ng araw ng iyon. Pula dahil
sa nagpapatuloy at di nagmamaliw na pagpupugay at pagmamahal ng kilusang
masa kay Ka Roda, o dahil din siguro araw ng mga puso!
Hindi karaniwan ang araw na iyon. Una, bagamat korni, kadalasan sa araw
ng mga puso, aminin man natin o hindi, ay may sariling date ang mga may
karelasyon at/o mag-asawa. Hindi karaniwan dahil si Ka Roda ang ka-date
ng mga kasama. Parangal/tribute na natatangi at nararapat lamang para sa
isang kasamang binansagang “most
rebellious driver the country has ever had” ng dating diktador na
si Ferdinand Marcos pero most loved
sa kilusang masa.
Naalala ko rin a few years back, 2 beses kong nakasabay magpa-acupunture
sa Council for Health and Development (CHD) si Ka Roda. Parehong
nilalagyan ng aparato ang mga karayom namin na nagdadala ng kaunting
electric current. Si Ka Roda ng mga panahon na iyon ay hindi pa naka-wheel
Sa sumunod na pagkakataong nakita ko si Ka Roda, naka-wheel chair na
siya. Ito ay sa parangal ni Ka Crispin “Ka Bel” Beltran. Isa si Ka Roda
sa mga nagpadaloy ng luha ko sa maraming nag-alay ng awit at pananalita.
Hindi naging hadlang ang hirap nya sa pagsasalita nung panahon ng
parangal para maramdaman at maipaabot nya ang matinding pighati sa
pagpanaw ng isa sa dakilang lider manggagawa ng bansa.
Ngayong ikaw naman ang pararangalan, bukas ala-6 ng gabi sa UCCP, kami
naman ang paniyak paluluhain mo Ka Roda – pagkat ikaw ay pinakamamahal
di lamang ng mga drayber na iyong pinamunuan sa mahabang panahon bilang
dating pangulo ng Piston kundi ng lahat ng sektor na nagpupugay sa di
matatawarang kontribusyon mo at paglahok sa pakikibaka ng sambayanang
Hindi man inabot ng mga nakababatang henerasyon ng mga tibak ang
nakilala naming magaling na lider masa, bubuhayin ang iyong mga alala sa
pagpapatuloy ng pakikibaka para sa tunay na kalayaan at demokrasya.
Maraming salamat at pinakamataas na pagpupugay Ka Roda!
BAYAN NCR's Roy Velez
Youngest child of Ka Roda speaks in
behalf of the family
Taas-kamaong pagpupugay kay Ka Roda
Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas
Setyembre 6, 2010
Nagbibigay-pugay ang lahat ng kasapi ng Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas (PKP)
at rebolusyonaryong kilusang Pilipino kay Kasamang Medardo Roda (Ka Roda)
na pumanaw kahapon, Setyembre 5, dahil sa atake sa puso. Ipinaaabot ng PKP
ang taos-puso nitong pakikiramay sa mga kamag-anak, kaibigan at mga kasama
ni Ka Roda. Nakikiisa kami sa inyong pagdadalamhati.
Si Ka Roda ay habampanahon na maaalala sa kanyang naging mahahalagang
ambag sa pakikibaka ng mga drayber, manggagawa at malamanggagawa at sa
pagsusulong ng pambansa-demokratikong kilusan ng sambayanang Pilipino.
Ipinanganak si Ka Roda noong Oktubre 27, 1934 sa Libmanan, Camarines Sur.
Nagmula siya sa uring magsasaka. Napadpad siya sa Maynila kung saan
ipinagpatuloy niya ang kanyang pag-aaral. Namasukan siya bilang drayber ng
taksi at kalaunan bilang drayber ng dyip sa rutang Cubao-V.Luna.
Naging pinuno si Ka Roda ng kanilang lokal na samahan ng mga drayber.
Pinangunahan niya ang pakikibaka ng mga drayber at agad tumampok ang
kanyang pangalan. Hindi nagtagal, nahalal siya bilang isa sa mga
bise-presidente ng Piston (Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operator
Nationwide) nang itinatag ito ng 1981. Pagkalipas ng ilang buwan,
mahahalal si Ka Roda bilang pangulo ng Piston.
Dahil sa pangunguna niya sa mga kilos-protesta sa lansangan, dinakip at
ikinulong si Ka Roda ng diktadurang US-Marcos noong 1983, kasama ang iba
pang lider anakpawis. Pagkalaya niya, tuluy-tuloy siyang nasa unahan ng
mga malawakang welga ng mga drayber at anakpawis. Pinangunahan niya ang
mga kilos-protesta laban sa pagtaas ng presyo ng langis. Muli siyang
ikinulong noong 1988 at 1990 sa ilalim ng rehimeng US-Aquino.
Mahal na mahal si Ka Roda ng mga kapwa niya drayber, ng masang anakpawis
at malawak na sambayanang Pilipino. Kinagiliwan ang kanyang simpleng
paraan ng pagpapaliwanag ng mga kumplikadong usapin, pati na ang kanyang
pagtatalumpating sinasaliwan ng mga pag-awit ng kundiman sa ibabaw ng dyip
sa mga kilos-protesta. Ang kanyang paninindigan at pakikipaglaban ay
nagbigay-inspirasyon sa libu-libo na bagtasin ang landas ng pambansa-
Mabuhay ang alaala ni Ka Roda!
Mabuhay ang demokratikong kilusan ng mga drayber!
Mabuhayang uring manggagawa, masang anakpawis at sambayanang Pilipino!
Isulong ang demokratikong rebolusyon ng bayan!
Ka Roda's grandchildren offer
a song to their lolo
Sining Bogkus leads the
friends and comrades of Ka Roda in singing his favorite anthem
Two days apart last week, two hardy
men, one young, one elderly, passed away quietly. The young man’s death
on September 3 spurred a torrent of messages of sympathy and paeans
mostly from young poets, writers and activists, through their blogs and
Facebook pages. The elderly man’s passing on September 5, on the other
hand, spawned the onrush of memories about the anti-martial law struggle
among his surviving colleagues, including myself.
The young man was Alexander Martin Remollino, 33, activist writer, poet
and journalist. He died of lung infection due to diabetes at the
Philippine General Hospital. A member of the National Union of
Journalists, Alex wrote for the online newsmagazine Bulatlat. com from
2003 to 2010. When he died he was information officer and researcher for
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan).
The elderly man was Medardo Roda, 76, chairman emeritus of PISTON (Pagkakaisa
ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operator Nationwide). His fifth stroke since
2002 led to cardiac arrest with multiple seizures, causing his death at
the East Avenue Medical Center. Tonight his comrades in the Kilusang
Mayo Uno (KMU) and Bayan will honor “Ka Roda” and his 30 years of
Ka Roda and the late Crispin “Ka Bel” Beltran, KMU chair when he died,
were both labor icons, former taxi drivers who drove to rally assembly
points in their old-model cars. Unquestionable was their integrity and
dedication to the workers’ cause and to our people’s struggles against
the Marcos dictatorship, the US military bases, and neoliberal
globalization. They fought for freedom, justice, and human rights. At
the head of protest marches they stood out, two robust muscular men with
solid clenched fists. Their speeches were fiery, but they could make
audiences laugh with their peculiar sense of humor.
In 1983, the two were detained for rebellion. After more than a year Ka
Roda was released. Ka Bel, who was held longer, escaped before Marcos
was ousted. I myself escaped in 1985 after nine years in military
detention. Years later, Ka Roda and I would recall with amusement the
tags that Marcos had put on us: he called Ka Roda “the most rebellious
driver the Philippines ever had” and me, a “viciously militant rebel who
continues to commit rebellion in prison.”
Ka Roda’s leadership imprint remains in the way PISTON, organized in
1981, continues to fight against unregulated oil price hikes and unjust
impositions on public utility drivers and operators. He will be sorely
missed in protest actions.
Alex Remollino may have lived in circumstances less perilous than under
martial law. Yet his heart raged against oppression, exploitation,
corruption and abuses, surging ferociously in his writings, particularly
his poetry, no less intensely than what we had felt long ago.
But that rage never showed in Alex’s mien or body language. Addressing
him after learning of his death, a friend wrote: “Who could forget your
stories about wanting to punch certain people in the face? Politicians,
military men, high-ranking government officials… Oh but you kept your
temper, and what anger you felt you channeled into your writing, your
poetry. You controlled your temper and all that the world saw was you
smiling, even if your written words always betrayed that under that
smiling exterior was a young man who felt such fire, such compassion for
the poor, such love for their struggle.”
A university professor and long-time activist observed that Alex used
“sharp language in calling to account those who cause the people’s
sufferings…” but employed “endearing language in paying tribute to the
struggling masses.” She compared Alex to Emilio Jacinto, the bright
young writer of the Katipunan whose words Alex posted in his Facebook
page: “Life that is not consecrated to a lofty purpose is like a tree
without a shadow, if not a poisonous weed.”
Although he preferred to identify himself simply as “a writer and
development worker in the Philippines,” Alex had already had a poem,
“Tuparin Natin ang Banta ng ating Panahon” (Defying the Challenge of the
Times), set to music and used in a video that won second prize in the
18th Gawad CCP para sa Alternatibong Pelikula at Video. He also
co-authored the book, Subverting the People’s Will: The May 10, 2004
Elections, published by the Center for People Empowerment in Governance
Another admirer noted how journalism nourished the poetry: “Alex used
for his poetry the truths he gleaned from his journalism. Unlike other
young poets who found muses from the imagined, Alex drew inspiration
from the real sentiments and aspirations, agony and hope of the masses.
What he would not share with friends and colleagues would end up in his
poems, told more fervently, told more gracefully.”
Alex Remollino and Medardo Roda, with many others before them, may have
lapsed into history, but the people’s struggle goes on for as long as
the conditions they raged against basically persist. And as the struggle
develops new forms, good persons step forward to do their share. Thus is
how history is made.
Gabriela Rep. Emmi de Jesus
and PISTON leader George San Mateo
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte and
Bayan Muna President Satur Ocampo
Inspiring Pioneer of Philippine Drivers’
Movement Gave His Final ‘Boundary’ Published on September 11, 2010
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL and MARYA SALAMAT
MANILA — Medardo Roda, “Ka Roda” to friends and foes, the tall figure that
rallied drivers and operators to the Philippine progressive drivers’
movement from the time PISTON was formed in 1981 to this decade, the
well-remembered voice of the marginalized that tirelessly rail at the
connivance of the Philippine state and oil cartel against workers and
transport drivers, yet sing also of love for one’s country and cracked
jokes, passed away on September 5 due to cardiac arrest.
As the pioneering leader and later Chairman Emeritus of PISTON (Pagkakaisa
ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operator Nationwide), Ka Roda, as the KMU put
it, is unarguably the most famous and most well-loved transport leader
this country has ever had. His towering presence, literally and
figuratively, in the struggle for just treatment of transport workers and
of the marginalized sectors in general, inspires the younger progressive
transport leaders and stymies the yellow transport leaders into ignominy
PISTON is one of the national federations affiliated with the Kilusang
Mayo Uno; it is the organization where Ka Roda mostly concretized his
struggle for national freedom and genuine democracy for more than 30
A Peasant Turned Driver And Mass Leader
Born on October 27, 1934 to a peasant family in Libmanan, Camarines Sur,
the young Medardo, like his fellow children of farmers, started tilling
the farm fields to help his parents in between going to school. He
attended the Bicol Central Academy where he was a consistent student
leader until he finished high school in 1954.
Ka Roda during the Martial Law years. (Photo courtesy of Arkibong Bayan /
He went to Manila to find work and continue studying. Referred by his
brother, he worked for the family of a senator. While working for this
family, he took up automotive in 1957 and then continued to work in the
car rental business of his employer’s son.
In the latter half of 1960 Medardo Roda quit his job and started driving a
taxi. But after being the victim of hold-ups for four times, he quit the
taxi for the jeepney in 1978.
Plying the Cubao-V. Luna route, he joined meetings and discussions of
transport organizations, where he was soon elected as president of their
local association of drivers and operators. In 1980 the KMU was
established and it consolidated its “transport committee” which resulted
in the founding of PISTON a year later.
Under the sham lifting of martial rule, Ka Roda was elected at first as
third vice president of PISTON, but a few months later he started serving
as its president.
Leading the Drivers’ Struggle
One of the first campaigns Ka Roda led was the scrapping of PD 1605, which
cancelled a driver’s license on his third offense, no matter how small the
traffic violation was. Whenever they conducted transport strikes, Ka Roda
recalled how mad the Quezon City Mayor’s office was because they were able
to paralyze public transport.
Ka Roda speaking with a police official. (Photo courtesy of Pinoy Weekly /
Because Ka Roda was able to rally drivers and operators to conduct protest
actions, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos had him arrested and jailed in
1983, together with other renowned mass leaders of the progressive labor
movement. After being released from jail, he continued to lead transport
and workers’ strikes, as well as other protest actions against oil price
hikes. He was imprisoned twice under the Arroyo government in 1988 and
For his steadfast leadership, Ka Roda earned the love and trust of his
fellow drivers and the working people. His down-to-earth explanations of
even complex issues, sometimes punctuated with song and dance and jokes
onstage, endeared him to many, including journalists such as radio
reporters who enjoyed interviewing him on air.
Humble, Witty Mass Leader
Although an icon and pioneer of the progressive driver’s movement in the
country, Ka Roda was respected as a humble leader with a fervent drive to
fight for the rights of the marginalized. Despite the seriousness of the
issues faced by drivers, Ka Roda was also admired for his dry wit.
“There was never a dull moment when Ka Roda was around,” George San Mateo
of Piston said.
He was constantly funny and helpful to comrades and drivers that he led
and organized, but in front of government officials during dialogues, Ka
Roda was serious and could not be bullied. “Because he was tall and
strong-looking and had a forceful voice, he could awe government officials
in dialogues,” San Mateo said.
Devoted to the cause of drivers, Ka Roda still attended dialogues and
rallies as much as he could even after he had suffered a stroke in 2002
and then in 2003. “Whenever we updated him on the plans and activities of
PISTON, he insisted on attending its meetings and activities even if he
already had difficulty in walking,” San Mateo said.
Ka Roda is “someone who never saw himself as different from others who
look up to him as a leader,” said Modesto Floranda, a friend and comrade
of Ka Roda since the late 1980s.
Floranda recalled how a driver once invited Ka Roda to eat at a popular
fast food restaurant, but Ka Roda replied: “Why would we eat there? Do you
have money? We will eat where you usually eat. You don’t need to treat us
to that restaurant.”
“Ka Roda was a leader who refused to be bribed by the government or oil
companies. Unlike those so-called leaders of other federations of drivers’
groups such as Fejodap, Pasang Masda and PCDO-Acto, he did not enrich
himself in the process. He never accepted anything from the government to
stay true to his principles,” Floranda said.
The government had reportedly tried to bribe Ka Roda by offering him a
position at the Road Board, a commission managing the road user’s tax.
“That’s a subtle form of bribery, but Ka Roda rejected it,” said Steve
Ranjo, Piston national president.
Ka Roda, longtime chair of the transport group Piston. (Photo grab from
Ruta ni Roda (Roda’s Route), a documentary produced by Kodao Productions /
On the eve of every transport strike, Ranjo said, many government
officials would desperately contact Ka Roda to ask him to call it off.
“The government would ask for a dialogue, but Ka Roda almost always never
attended those last-minute dialogues because experience had taught him
that during these occasions the government would only bribe transport
leaders. Even traffic enforcers respected him for his incorruptibility,”
A Humble Public Utility Driver
“As a driver, he supported his seven children through his own earnings.
Whenever an oil price hike loomed, he knew the fear and difficulties of
his fellow drivers and their families. He therefore strongly opposed oil
price hikes together with other marginalized sectors. His point of view is
not limited to the driver’s sector only, but also encompassed that of the
whole nation,” said Floranda.
Later in his life, when he was forced to walk with a cane, Ka Roda, as
chairman emeritus of Piston, still helped to raise funds for Piston’s
national congress. “Through his efforts, he was able to raise 90 percent
of the funds spent for our third national congress in April 2007,” San
Ka Roda during the wake of fellow labor leader Crispin “Ka Bel” Beltran,
in May 2008 at IFI Church, Manila. (Photo courtesy of Arkibong Bayan /
Before he became bed-ridden in August 2007, Ka Roda had been going out of
town to facilitate the oath-taking of new PISTON members. He also still
attended dialogues with mayors and representative of different district
offices of the Land Transportation Office.
“He was indeed a pillar of the Filipino transport workers’ movement,” San
Proud of Ka Roda
Gerry Roda, 36, youngest son of Ka Roda, is proud of his father. He
appreciates their father’s efforts in having sent them to school alongside
his active participation in the progressive people’s movement. He
described Ka Roda as a patient father. “Very seldom did he lecture his
children but whenever he did he was very serious.”
To Gerry, his father was a silent man who often read books and newspapers
when at home. “But he would still check on how we were doing.”
Gerry recalled how he had been teased by his classmates, and how he had
been ashamed when Ka Roda was apprehended by governments from Marcos to
Cory Aquino. “Sometimes, I refrained from mentioning who my father was,
admitting it only to my friends when they asked.”
“I was too young then to understand, but now I can say proudly to everyone
that he is my father.”
Ka Roda’s life has imparted a shining example for the nationwide transport
workers’ movement, in particular, and the progressive labor movement, in
general. He leaves behind his wife, seven children and the broad masses of
fellow drivers and toiling people who had come to cherish, respect and
admire him for what he did and what he represents. (Bulatlat.com)
Prof Joi Barrios, BAYAN women
Renato Reyes, BAYAN secretary
Roy Velez, BAYAN NRC head
Prof. Joi Barrios recites: "Liham sa mga Kasama"
Ka Osang Beltran pays tribute to Ka Roda
Louie and Lou sing at the parangal kay Ka Roda
Message of tribute to Ka Roda of ILPS Chair Prof. Jose Maria Sison read by
Sining Bugkos sings at Tribute to Ka Roda
KMU Tribute to Ka Roda read by Steve Ranjo, Part I
KMU tribute to Ka Roda read by Steve Ranjo, Part II
6 Set 2010 ... Si Ka Roda ay
habampanahon na maaalala sa kanyang naging mahahalagang ambag sa
pakikibaka ng mga drayber, manggagawa at malamanggagawa at sa ... www.philippinerevolution.net/cgi-bin/statements/stmts.pl?...pil
8 Sep 2010 ... In his heydays as
president of the transport group Piston, Ka Roda championed the
welfare of transport drivers and commuters alike against ... asiancorrespondent.com/tonyo-cruz-blog/medardo-roda-obituary
Si Ka Roda ay habampanahon na maaalala
sa kanyang naging mahahalagang ambag sa ... Ipinanganak si Ka
Roda noong Oktubre 27, 1934 sa Libmanan, Camarines Sur. ... dolores.pinoyexchange.com/forums/showthread.php?t=467989
11 Sep 2010 ... MANILA — Medardo Roda, “Ka
Roda” to friends and foes, the tall figure that rallied drivers and
operators to the Philippine progressive ... www.bulatlat.com/.../inspiring-pioneer-of-philippine-drivers’-movement-gave-his-final-‘boundary’/
Proof of how much Ka Roda is loved
was the early arrival of most of the performers and attendees. The UP
Solair garden was filling up nicely an hour before ... bukaneg.blog.friendster.com/2009/02/labs-ko-si-ka-roda-the-tribute/
16 Peb 2009 ... KILALA sa tawag na “Ka
Roda,” pinarangalan kamakailan si Medardo Roda ng mga kapamilya,
kaibigan at mga kasama sa organisasyon ng mga ... pinoyweekly.org/new/2010/09/ruta-ni-ka-roda-2/
7 Set 2010 ...Ka Roda,
pioneer of the progressive drivers' movement in the country, passed
away on September 5 due to cardiac arrest (Photo from ... arnoldpadilla.wordpress.com/.../medardo-ka-roda-roda-1934-2010/