Juanito Ka Juaning Rivera Death | Obituary – Juanito “Ka Juaning” Rivera, cofounder of the communist New People’s Army (NPA), on Sunday sadly died of a mild stroke and other ailments. He was 89.
Rivera had been suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease, and died at his home in Barangay Sta. Rita here at 7 a.m., according to his brother, Jack.
From a barrio captain organizing fellow peasants against the hacienda system in Capas town in the 1960s, Rivera went underground and joined the Hukbong Mapagpalaya ng Bayan, the armed group of the old Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas (PKP) in November 1968.
He and some of his fellow cadres eventually split from the PKP to form the NPA that was to become the armed group of the then newly formed Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) under Jose Maria Sison.
For 23 years, Rivera spent his life underground being a member of the politburo (political bureau) of the CPP and its executive committee and as a guerrilla.
He was among those who planned the procurement of arms through the MV Andrea and the MV Karagatan.
Released from prison in 1991, Rivera returned home and retired from the movement. He became a consultant of then Tarlac Gov. Jose Yap in the peace talks between the government and the communist-led National Democratic Front, as well as in agricultural programs of the Tarlac provincial government.
“I have no regrets of the long years spent with the underground as we gained something for the masses,” Rivera said in a 2002 interview with the Inquirer. He was then referring to the breakup of the hacienda and “kasama” system not only in Central Luzon but in other parts of the country.
According to him, he bore no illusion that the mission he set out to achieve when he joined the underground movement in 1968 would bear fruit in his lifetime.