Salute to Joel “Ka JV” Virador

May 8, 2019

Days had passed since your passing and the grief had been overwhelming. It is not a comfortable and feeling to write a tribute to someone who passed away, because you can no longer hear what we have to say. There’s always this guilt that we didn’t even thank you enough when you were alive. THANK YOU SO MUCH.

In our busiest times, we were so engrossed accomplishing what we intended to do, often forgetting to check  if every colleague and comrade is okay or if they had eaten or slept enough, or how they are keeping their sanity in between hunger, anxiety and desire to make a difference.

Thank you for your oozing humility, selflessness and passion to organize workers, when you thread that challenging road as a human rights worker, as a former legislator and as an activist. We can remember your smiles while you were telling us how you and other colleagues were negotiating a new CBA. You made us so proud of how generous you were in your comments, suggestions and diplomatic criticisms in several meetings of CTUHR you had been. You had been so clear, even doubling as translator and active participant in a conference, telling everyone that expanding oil palm plantations in Mindanao will only exacerbate the conflict that TNCs has created and fueled.  You were clear in warning that the expansion of plantations will invite resistance, as corporations grab the land and displaced the communities even under a then Mayor, now President, who previously supported a part of the peoples movement.

So many good things had already been said, because you truly deserve them. You left so early, when the workers, the trade union movement, the people’s rights movement are experiencing one of the worst, if not the worst multi-faceted attacks in history.  But we will celebrate by always moving forward as long as we can, in our struggle for justice and genuine peace.