Crispin Beltran the grand old man of Philippine labor is gone a party list representative of the labor sector in a tragic accident. A true representative and a genuine leader of the labor sector true to his origins as a working class till his last breath remain not just in principle but all throughout his life.
Indeed he will be missed, a tragic loss especially in the lower house of the
Despite the opportunity to enrich himself owing to his position and privilege he has been a true blooded worker never losing touch of who and what he represents. He could have easily and conveniently change his way of life with the stature of a congressman but preferred to live the life of a modest worker with gargantuan responsibility that comes with his position.
A rare breed in nation where power and position is utilized to the fullest to enrich themselves he choose a simple honest path being true to the sector he represented. He passed away the poorest among the representatives despite the opportunity to amass wealth in un-audited pork barrels and perks not even counting the money that influence can bring in an environment of corrupt governance with barely a net worth of P50K shows his true mettle as a man of integrity and honesty a trait seldom seen among Philippine politicians.
Crispin Beltran popularly known as Ka Bel, was born in Bacacay town, Albay province on Jan. 7, 1933, a former taxi driver, became an active trade unionist and chairman of the militant labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (May One Movement) who was detained during the martial law regime of Marcos and by Gloria Arroyo’s “state of national emergency” in 2006.
Before he became a congressman representing the party-list group Anak-Pawis, Beltran ran unsuccessfully for senator in 1987 together with Human Rights lawyer Romeo Capulong, The late publisher Jose Burgos Jr., Horacio "Boy'' Morales, Nelia Sancho, farm worker leader Jaime Tadeo and former NPA chief Bernabe Buscayno under the Partido ng Bayan.
As a recognized leader,four of the biggest rural-based activist groups, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), the fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), the agricultural workers union Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura and Amihan-National Federation of Peasant Women bestowed Beltran the title “Grand Old Man of Genuine Land Reform” in the country.
Farewell Ka Bel, you will be missed a patriot and a leader that embodies the ideals of a true Filipino.