Ericson Acosta: his weapon was his pen

He was never conflicted. He knew where he stood in this fight. He was an active participant in the people’s national democratic revolution’s quest for justice, freedom and democracy and the building of a better social system. He fought for the interest of the exploited and the oppressed. He is firm in his principles. His weapon was his pen, his bullets were his words. They were pointed and sharp. He wrote for the exploited and oppressed. He knows that in their millions they are a force to be reckoned with.

He is Ericson Acosta. The masses beloved cultural worker whose enthusiasm to bring the stories of the Filipino people’s struggle was inexhaustible. Fingers blackened by ink and paint. Colorful burst of art manifesting the people’s heroic war. Blank paper suddenly filled with prose, lyrics, poetry. The revolution was his canvas, his landscape.

Thus, the demonic fascists were afraid. They know how powerful the force is when awakened. It has toppled kings, dictators, pretenders. They must silence him. The fascist US-Duterte regime deemed he should cease to exist. And so, he suffered the same fate as his beloved wife and comrade, Kerima Tariman, tortured and killed by soldiers of the reactionary state.

Comrade Ericson was captured alive, tortured then stabbed and hacked to death by elements of the 94th and 47th Infantry Battalion of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Barangay Camansi, Kabankalan, Negros Occidental on November 30, 2022.

The fascist AFP murdered a poet, an artist, writer, singer, composer, stage play performer, scriptwriter, peasant organizer, teacher, political prisoner, and narrator of people’s stories of the enemy’s greed and cruelty, of a people rising up, of bravery and courage, self-sacrifice, aspiration and triumph.

Comrade Ericson was a people’s warrior. His arenas of struggle were the environs of school as a student leader, the picket lines as a labor organizer, the stage as a cultural performer and the canvas as historian of people’s art. Even the enemy’s prison became an arena for his endeavor to trumpet the Filipino people’s rich revolutionary cultural heritage. And so was the peace negotiating table.

His experience with the peasant masses of Eastern Visayas, Bicol and Central Luzon that brought life to his prose and his art made him an advocate for the peasants’ clamor for land and for genuine agrarian reform and developed within him deep insight and knowledge on the peasant struggle. Thus, he became a consultant of the NDFP for negotiations with the GRP on the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms or CASER.

Comrade Ericson was literary editor (1993-1995) of The Philippine Collegian of the University of the Philippines-Diliman. He was organizer of different organizations and associations such as STAND UP (Student Alliance for National Democracy – University of the Philippines), UMA (Ugnayan ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura), Alay Sining, CAP (Concerned Artist of the Philippines), Anakpawis Partylist..

Comrade Ericson also excelled not only in cultural work but also in ideological and political work. According to Prof. Jose Maria Sison in his tribute to Comrade Ericson: “…He chose to focus on education and cultural work, to wield art as a weapon and to write poetry even while doing social investigation and mass work. With his academic training in political science and profound interest in culture, art and poetry, he found it of the highest value to study the Marxist theory and practice in art and literature in order to better serve the Filipino people in their new democratic revolution with a socialist perspective.

…He was fully committed to the Filipino people’s new democratic revolution. He was determined to contribute his best to the national and social liberation of his people from the clutches of the semicolonial and semifeudal system, especially from such traitors, butchers and plunderers as the Marcoses and Dutertes….”

No matter how the AFP and the NTF-ELCAC charlatans tried to malign Comrade Ericson, how they slander people and organizations that paid him tributes and testimonies—they have failed.

For Comrade Ericson will not be silenced. His works proclaim the people’s heroic struggle against the oppressors and exploiters that enslaved them and stunt their genuine development. Through his book of poetry “MulaTarima Hanggang Iba Pang Tula at Awit” they will continue to reverberate.


And so your poetry must
be wary you say
of its claims
lest you waive art
to us millions unworthy
of taste and manner
lest you be christened
peddler of images
alien in form
pagan in content
lest your license
be forfeited
your ear for resonance
your feel for the sublime.

And so while you summon
the litany of worlds
your own words fashion
you annul my existence
and those of millions
whose narratives you say
betray poetic tone
make burlesque of beauty
and thus like scarecrows
set even the most heretic
muses scurrying back
to their sanctum of rules.

And so in recollecting
your epiphanies
you elude the void
which is my hunger
the famine of millions
the empty bowl of history.

And so with your eulogies
to passion
your rage against time
your pledge with life’s gift
you lull the birth of noise
of revenge
of bloodshow
that shall feed millions
make full of history
and perhaps even poetry

–Ericson Acosta, 1994