Joma Sison’s remains to be cremated in the Netherlands
By Xianne Arcangel, CNN Philippines
THE remains of Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria “Joma” Sison will be cremated in the Netherlands on Dec. 27, according to information shared by the group’s legal wing, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
Sison’s cremation at the Crematorium Daelwijck in Utrecht will take place 12 days after he died on Dec. 16 at the age of 83. He had been living in exile in the Netherlands since 1988.
CPP chief information officer Marco Valbuena on Sunday told CNN Philippines that there are no discussions yet on bringing Sison’s ashes to the Philippines.
“I think his family needs some private time for the moment and this matter can be discussed later,” he added.
In a statement announcing Sison’s death Saturday, CPP said it was Sison’s “wish” for his cremains to be brought back to the Philippines.
“This will give the broad masses of workers and peasants the opportunity to pay their last respects, and give honor to the revolutionary leader who dedicated his entire life to the cause of liberation,” the CPP’s statement read.
Based on the advisory shared by NDFP, there is an ongoing public vigil for Sison at Barbara Uitvaartverzorging, a funeral home in Utrecht, until Dec. 22. The wake will be closed to the public from Dec. 24 to 26.
Dec. 23 will be a “day of tribute” to Sison from representatives of political parties and organizations. Details of the program will be announced at a later time.
The NDFP said “there will be readings of poems, articles, video showings, singing of Ka Joma's favorite songs and open mic” for the entire duration of the wake. Guests are encouraged to bring red flowers.
The CPP also declared a 10-day period of mourning for Sison in the Philippines. Members of its armed wing, the New People’s Army, are ordered “to stand in formation at the break of dawn of Dec. 26 and silently perform a 21-gun salute by way of giving the highest tribute and bidding farewell to our beloved leader.”
While in mourning, the CPP said the NPA “can stage tactical offensives.”
The Department of National Defense has called on the “few remaining believers” of Sison to “turn their backs” on the CPP-NPA-NDF and “give peace a chance.”