Jose Maria Sison, the leader of the Philippine Communist Party, died on Friday night at the age of 83 after being locked up in a hospital in the Netherlands for two weeks, his party said on Saturday.
Sison started the Philippine Communist Party, which has a military branch called the New People’s Army (NPA). The NPA is fighting an armed rebellion in one of the world’s longest-running insurgencies.
More than 40,000 people have died in the fighting between the NPA and the Philippine government.
“The Filipino Proletariat and Working People Mourn the Death of Their Teacher and Guiding Light,” the Party said in a statement on its website.
Since the late 1980s, when dictator Ferdinand Marcos was overthrown, the self-exiled Communist leader has lived in Europe. In May of this year, Marcos’s son, also named Ferdinand, was elected president.
In 2002, the US put Sison on a list of terrorists, which made it impossible for him to travel.
The party said that Sison died peacefully around 8:40 p.m. local time on Friday after being locked up in a hospital in Utrecht. It did not explain why Sison was locked up.
“Even though we are sad, we promise to keep giving all our strength and determination to move the revolution forward, guided by the memory and teachings of the people’s beloved Ka Joma,” the party said.
Sison was also known as Joma, where “ka” means “comrade.”
When he took office in 2016, Rodrigo Duterte made ending the conflict a top priority. However, when rebel attacks kept happening during peace talks, he gave up on trying to make peace.
The NPA had about 25,000 armed fighters at its height, but only about 2,000 now, according to the military.
- Baltimore Police Identify The Man And Woman Killed Last Week
- LMPD: 2 People Were Killed In A Shooting In An Old Louisville Parking Lot