JASUL, Alfredo Villaflor

Jasul Ramon Villaflor

Alfredo became an activist during the late 1960s and 1970s when the student movement for nationalism and democracy raged in most schools in Metro Manila. Alfredo was then a student at the Far Eastern University (FEU) taking up AB in Political Science.

Alfredo joined the Kabataang Makabayan (KM) in 1970, where he seriously took to heart two principles: learn from the people and serve the people. Several months after joining the KM, Alfredo left FEU and went on to live with farmers in Tarlac. By 1971, he was working fulltime as organizer of farmers in that province. He helped the farmers form an association that demanded fair treatment from their landlords. They sought a stop to the charging of exorbitant land rents by landlords, as well as the prevalent practice of usury, both of which were keeping the farmers in perpetual poverty. Alfredo taught the farmers new ways of looking at their agrarian situation and showed them how their situation was in common with the peasants in the whole country.

Towards the last quarter of 1971, Alfredo moved to his hometown of Lucban in Quezon where he also started organizing farmers and the youth. He helped the farmers form self-help groups (bayanihan, locally known as turnuhan). The turnuhan met regularly, discussing farmers’ problems and seeking solutions to these problems. The military identified Alfredo as a dangerous presence and put him under surveillance.

When martial law was declared in September 1972, the turnuhan fell under what the military considered as a subversive organization. Alfredo went into hiding and then joined the armed resistance against the Marcos dictatorship.

On January 13, 1973, soldiers raided a house in Tayabas, Quezon, where Alfredo and five others were killed. Alfredo died from multiple gunshot wounds. Fellow activist Eugene Grey was also killed in that incident.

A newspaper account the following day said that six “insurgents” were killed in Tayabas in a clash with Philippine Constabulary troops.

Alfredo’s involvement in activism did not make his parents happy and his death devastated them. But Alfredo’s younger brother Ramon followed in Alfredo’s footsteps, became an activist, was abducted by the intelligence operatives in 1977, and is today counted as among the hundreds of the country’s desaparecidos. Alfredo’s other siblings helped the brothers in various ways during the dark years of martial law. Eventually the entire Jasul family came to be proud of the Alfredo and Ramon’s heroism.

The communities where Alfredo stayed and worked in continue to remember him and appreciate him. Besides supporting their peasant struggles, they realize that Alfredo also gave up his young life in order to fight a dictatorship. Alfredo died at the very young age of 21, one of the many youthful martyrs of the national democratic movement.