Statements: Ka Bel, Bayani ka ng Masang Pilipino! Highest Salutations to the Grand Old Man of Philippine Labor


May 20, 2008

“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 celebrating the life and works of the great leader and fighter of the oppressed Anakpawis Representative Crispin “Ka Bel” Beltran, who died at 11:48 A.M. on May 20.

Beltran succumbed to lacerations of the head and brain injuries that resulted from a fall in his house in Muzon, Bulacan. He was first rushed to the Far Eastern University Hospital in Quezon City which declared that the congressman is “brain dead” after at least four cardiac arrests since arrival. He was later transferred at the Caloocan Doctors’ Hospital. Beltran is 75.

Ka Bel is a big loss to 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 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. 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 is the chairman emeritus of the KMU before his death.

He became the vice-chairman of the Partido ng Bayan (PnB) from 1986 to 1987. He was one of the first set of representatives of the progressive Partylist Bayan Muna in 2001 until 2004. From 2004 until the time he died, he is the representative of Anakpawis Partylist.

He is the chairman of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan). He is also the founding chairman of the International League of Peoples’ Struggles.

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 Philippine School of Arts and Trades (1953-1955). He took up Marine and Civil Engineering at the Far Eastern University.

He is married to Rosario Soto Beltran with whom he had 11 children.

Ka Bel is a true peoples’ servant. As a congressman of the masses, he filed numerous bills advancing the people’s 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 staunch critic 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 the Filipino masses especially the working class, will never forget his golden deeds and priceless contributions for the people’s welfare.

A simple salute is not enough but continuing his fight will be the better way to let live what he thought us.


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