DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Fidel Agcaoili, chair of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace negotiation panel, passed away on July 23 in Utrecht, The Netherlands.
The NDFP made the announcement on July 24 midnight (Philippine time), saying the cause of his death was due to pulmonary arterial rupture which caused internal bleeding, according to the doctor.
He was 75 and was about to celebrate his birthday on August 8.
Agcaoili was a member of the NDFP peace negotiation panel since its formation during the presidency of Corazon Aquino in 1986.
He assumed the position of chairman of the peace panel in 2016, taking over Luis Jalandoni’s post, before the start of the recent round of formal peace talks between the NDFP and the Duterte government in Oslo, Norway.
As head of the negotiating panel, he made several visits to President Rodrigo Duterte in 2016 and 2017 to discuss matters on pushing the agenda of the peace talks.
The peace panels were in discussion for a comprehensive agreement on socio economic reforms that include agrarian reform and national industrialization before the negotiations collapsed in 2017.
Agcaoili is the longest-held political prisoner under Ferdinand Marcos’ dictatorship , and later served as one of the founders of the Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at para sa Amnestiya (SELDA).
Agcaoili’s remains will be flown to the Philippines in accordance with the wishes of his family, the NDFP added.
Tribute to Ka Fidel
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) extended their deep sympathies to the wife and children of Agcaoili.
“Filipino communists and revolutionaries feel a deep sense of sorrow and loss with Ka Fidel’s passing. He was one of the most beloved and respected leaders of the Party, the NDFP and the Filipino people,” the CPP said in a statement.
“Over the past decades, from the underground movement, to inside prison, to international work and peace negotiations, Ka Fidel untiringly struggled with the Filipino people and served the revolutionary movement and all the oppressed and exploited classes to achieve national and social liberation,” it added.
Jose Maria Sison, the NDFP chief consultant on the talks, wrote a personal tribute to Ka Fidel, whom he described had been with him since the formation of the Kabataang Makabayan in 1964 until they both went underground during Martial Law.
“He came from an upper class family and could have easily attained an endless series of high positions in the ruling system. But he chose to side with the people, especially the toiling masses of workers and peasants, in their just revolutionary struggle for national and social liberation,” Sison described Ka Fidel.
Silvestre Bello III, Agcaoili’s counterpart as head of the government peace panel, described Agcaoili as a “man of honor and conviction” in one of the reports of Kodao Productions on the peace talks.
“It is just sad that Ka Fidel will no longer savor the lasting peace with justice that he was pursuing with passion. Goodbye to a dear friend, a revolutionary and a peace warrior,” Bello was quoted saying.
The CPP said that they will be announcing soon a day of mourning and program to remember Ka Fidel. (davaotoday.com)