Tribute to Cristina Jose, leader and servant of the people of Compostela Valley

Cristina Jose

With pride, Karapatan pays tribute to Kagawad Cristina Jose, a true leader and servant of the people of Compostela Valley.  

Cristina Jose’s life and struggle embody those of the poor majority of the Filipinos who are exploited and oppressed. But more importantly, Cristina Jose epitomizes the poor Filipinos’ pursuit for justice, and the assertion of their national and democratic aspirations.  

Cristina Jose represents those who were victimized by landgrabbing in favour of the business interests of loggers and transnational mining companies that operate in their communities;

Cristina Jose represents the vulnerability of the poor people to disasters, not only because of natural calamities but also because of environmental degradation that was a result of the plunder of our resources by big business;

Cristina Jose represents  those who were victims of government discrimination and neglect, bureaucratic red-tape, inefficiency and corruption in providing assistance to victims of calamities and disasters, using the communist bogey as an excuse; 

Cristina Jose represents the victims of the government’s tactic of victim blaming when people assert their right to take what is rightfully theirs; 

Cristina Jose represents the many other victims of human rights violations, those who were killed, disappeared, arrested and tortured for asserting their rights; 

Beyond being a victim, Cristina Jose represents the people’s struggle—the people who courageously stand up to get their fair share of the society’s wealth, those who challenge the power wielders and the status quo, those who fight oppression and exploitation; and those who struggle to have a better life and a just and humane society. 

Today, as we lay to rest Cristina Jose’s remains, we do so with clenched fists, with fire in our hearts, and with a promise that we will, on her behalf, lock in arms with those she represented and win the struggle she lived for.