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May 22, 2008

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Ka Bel, Bayani ka ng Masang Pilipino

"If helping the poor is a crime and fighting for freedom is rebellion then I plead guilty as charged

Crispin "Ka Bel" Beltran
21 years ago on the rebellion charges against him by the Marcos dictatorship

The militant workers of the Cordillera Region under the flagship of Kilusang Mayo Uno-Cordillera join the Filipino masses in bidding farewell to the great leader and fighter of the oppressed, ANAKPAWIS REPRESENTATIVE Crispin "Ka Bel" Beltran who died at 11:48 am on May 20. Beltran succumbed to lacerations of the head and brain injuries after falling from his roof of their house in Muzon, Bulacan. He was first rushed to the Far Eastern University Hospital in Quezon City where declared that the congressman is "brain dead" after suffering at least four cardiac arrests after arrival and later transferred at the Caloocan Doctors' Hospital. Beltran is 75.

Ka Bel is a big loss to the lives of the Filipinos especially the poor as they lose a brilliant and brave father who dedicated his life in giving utmost servitude for the advancement of the democratic rights and welfare of the Filipino people. He firmly stood for what he believed for in fighting against the exploitations and oppressions and struggling for a just and democratic society in the country.

Ka Bel was a true blooded working class hero where he courageously fought for the democratic rights and welfare of the Filipino workers for almost 54 years. A trade unionist ever since 1955, he helped in the establishment of the Kilusang Mayo Uno (May 1st movement) forwarding genuine, militant, and nationalist unionism. He became the Vice-Chairman of the Partido ng Bayan from 1986 to 1987. He was one of the first set of representatives of the progressive Party-List Bayan Muna in 2001 until 2004. From 2004 until the time he died, he is the representative of ANAKPAWIS Party-List. He is the chairman of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN). He is also the founding Chairman of the International League of Peoples' Struggle. He is the Chairman Emeritus of the KMU before his death.

Ka Bel was born on January 7, 1933 at Bacacay, Albay. He attended elementary at the Bacacay, Elementary School (1938-1941; 1946-1949). He finished secondary education at the Albay High School (1949-1953), went to the Phil. School of Arts and trades (1953-1955). He even took up Marine and Civil Engineering at the Far Eastern University (undergraduate). He is married to Rosario Soto Beltran

Ka Bel is a true peoples' servant, as a congressman of the masses, he filed numerous bills and passages advancing the peoples welfare. He is at the forefront of exposing government anomalies and corruptions. He is a vocal campaigner against foreign exploitation and domination. Because of his tireless and dedicated performance in the public service, he was awarded the Congressional Hall of Fame, he was chosen Most Outstanding Congressman for four consecutive years from 2002-2005. The Philippine Graphic Magazine recognized him as Filipino of the Year for 2002 for protecting consumers from the anti-people policies and abuses of electricity firms and by the Philippine Free Press as 2003 Filipino of the Year for advancing the interests of the working class.

Being a firm critic to the misdeeds of the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo administration, Ka Bel was illegally arrested on February 25, 2006 just after Arroyo desperately declared a state of emergency by elements of the Philippine National Police without even explaining to him the basis of his arrest. He was only presented after a few hours a photocopy of an alleged warrant for a rebellion case hurled against him by the Marcos Dictatorship which was dismissed 21 years ago. He was a political detainee during the Martial Law and was again one under the Arroyo administration for more than 15 months falsely charged for inciting to sedition from March 2006 to July 2007 through a hospital arrest at the Philippine Heart Center.

According to his daughter, Ofelia Beltran-Balleta, Ka Bel was about to file a bill scrapping the 12% reformed Value Added Tax (RVAT) which is the main cause of the sky rocketing of the price of oil and other petrol products. Ka Bel was among the principal authors

Ka Bel may be physically gone, but in the hearts and mind of the Filipino masses especially the working class, never will the golden deeds and priceless contributions for the people's welfare he gave for more than five decades. A simple salute is not enough but continuing his fight will be the better way to let live what he thought us.

We invite everyone to join us in paying tribute to our beloved congressman and hero of the masses on May 24 at 4:00 to 6:00 pm at the people's park.




Published with financial contribution from the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation
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