Tag archive

kabataang makabayan

An Afternoon with Ka Rio: Kabataang Makabayan, A People’s Warrior

in Mainstream
by the Liberation Staff

Family and school life. Aspirations and life in the struggle. An afternoon with Ka Rio in a guerrilla zone. Listen to this millennial who has defied the norms of a petrified society to bloom and become another hope of the motherland. (The interview was originally published in Filipino.)

Liberation (L): When did you become an activist?

Ka Rio (KR): I first got organized when I was a college sophomore in a local state university. That was at the height of the campaign against tuition fee increase. Dahil pabibo, e di join-join ako. (Because I wanted to be everywhere, I joined). You know, the typical adventurous youth. I gathered signatures for the petition against tuition fee increase. The petition helped the students pursue their fight. And we were able to stop the school’s plan. But I wasn’t consistent then. There were times when I did not join student activities. There was a gap.

But when I joined an environmental investigative mission in one of the provinces beset with a problem on mining, I got agitated. At first, the adventurous me joined because the area was by the seaside. But when I got there, I began to ask questions. Why are the people poor—the peasants, the fisherfolk—when we have these rich resources in the country? From then on there was no stopping. The following Christmas, I went to a community of indigenous people for gift-giving.

L: Were you already a KM (Kabataang Makabayan) member at that time?

KR: Not yet. (Laughter) I was an eternal KK (Kandidatong Kontak, candidate contact, a term used to those who are long-time activists but were not recruited into the KM). It took some more months before I became a KM member. But after I came in, no one could stop me. I joined RTR (room-to-room) recruitment and ED (educational discussions) with the students.
A month after I became a KM member, I attended study sessions in a guerrilla zone. I took up the MKLRP (Maikling Kurso sa Lipunan at Rebolusyong Pilipino, a condensed course on Philippine society and revolution).

L: How was your studies after you became an activist?

KR: I attended my classes. Then, the rest of the time, I was in other colleges talking to students, recruiting among them. I did my tasks in the movement simultaneous with my studies. Because I was guided by the principles of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism (MLM), I was able to do it. I applied these same principles to my studies, resulting in a much broader and sharper analysis of my school work.

I was a consistent college scholar. I did not pay tuition fees. My mother tolerated my activism because I did not neglect my studies. Even during exams, I continued with my activities outside the school. I went to different provinces. There were times I would ask my professors to excuse me from the exams because I needed to attend to other activities. Since I was a diligent student, they trusted me and granted me permission. I took the exams after the activities. At the time, I was also the president of an academic organization in our school.

L: What course did you take up?

KR: AB Psychology. Once, our academic organization sponsored a “pajama” party which coincided with KM’s study session. Since I was the president of the organization, I could not attend the ED. (Laughter.) I missed the opportunity.

L: Didn’t your teachers or classmates warn you from becoming an activist?

KR: There was a time when many students from our school joined the New People’s Army (NPA), so they assumed my organization was an activist organization and a recruiter for the red army. They did not tell me not to join but only cautioned me, ingat (keep safe) they said. OK!

L: You were a scholar. How did you balance your studies and your activism?

KR: I could set aside my studies every now and then and return to it after the activities. Activism did not keep me from studying. Or should I say my studies did not hinder my activism. Nothing can keep you from fighting if you have the will and commitment to serve the students and the masses.

In my fourth year, I became the chairperson of a university-wide organization. That required much of my time. It was also the time when we had to campaign again against tuition fee increase—explaining to students that the school’s budget should not burden them… chu chu… that it was the government’s responsibility. That! So we had another round of petition signing, recruitment, ED, RTR propaganda.

I was able to do all those while studying and working on my thesis and on my OJT (On-the-Job Training, a graduation requirement). My OJT was thrice a week but in between I still went to school for the campaign, recruitment, and ED. When I think about it, bongga lang (top-notch). Tumbling! Lagare (literally, a saw; a term used to describe one’s tight schedule and activities).

L: How did activism affect your studies?

KR: Before I became an activist, I was a careerist. My goal was to graduate with laude—cum laude. That! So, I had to maintain my high grades. I had to be a consistent college scholar.
When I became an activist, I got higher grades. I became a university scholar. So, activism is not a hindrance. Actually, it helps you broaden your understanding of things. And you become more intelligent in class, hahaha! It’s true! Because you are no longer confined in just the four walls of the classroom. I applied to my course the theories I learned from the movement, especially because my course is psychology—how society affects the thinking of a person. Eme! That!

L: You graduated cum laude, did your parents convince you to work?

KR: After graduation, I did not go home right away. I immediately reported for work in the movement. My mother asked me to come home for a graduation party but I begged off. My high school friends, some of whom also graduated with honors, also wanted a party. But, I only went home months later. The food reserved for me was already spoiled! (Laughter.)

L: What did you do after your graduation? Where did you go?

KR: I went to a community during the school vacation. When classes resumed, I went back to my school-based activities but I requested my collective not to deploy me in my alma mater because the dean and the professors knew me. Besides, I heard the Office of Student Affairs (OSA) comment that I did not deserve to graduate cum laude because I was an activist chuva chuva. That! Bitter! (Laughter.)

L: When did you join the people’s army? How did you prepare for it?

KR: I had spent two years with a youth organization before I went to the countryside. How I joined the NPA was a comedy. I went to a guerrilla zone only to “meet-and-greet” the people’s army. I was just a ‘joiner”. It wasn’t even for a TOD (tour-of-duty). But when I sat in the orientation on the NPA for the new KM members, I was most affected. So I stayed behind. (Laughter.)

We had an educational festival at the camp that time. One of my companions wanted to join the army. But because he was only 16, he was not qualified. I was touched that at 16 he was ready to join the army while it has never even dawned on me. And I was already 22! I felt ashamed of myself.

Then, there was this military cadre, a peasant, who had difficulty reading. On my way to my tent, I passed by him and he was reading aloud, slowly and in syllables “Da-pat pag-a-ra-lan (What need to be learned).” He was in his senior years. “Ano ba yan! (What’s this!)” Again, I was touched and told myself, “Stay here, teh! (teh is from the word “Ate” used to refer to an elder sister but has now become an expression used among peers). That was it! You see, this man was such a good military cadre yet he still wanted to read so he could study and hone his tactics in warfare to better serve the people. I told myself, “What are you doing, you’re a college graduate!” (Laughter.)

L: Was it in your plan to join the army?

KR: I didn’t plan to stay behind. It was my companion who was on TOD. I still wanted to study medicine. That was my dream. I had already borrowed a reviewer for the entrance exam in a medical school. My mother knew about it. I also told the people at the camp I wanted to be a doctor. “Then be a doctor here,” they told me. That made sense. Because around seven of 10 sick people in the countryside had not even seen a doctor before they died. It’s such an ordeal for the masses to travel long distance to see a doctor. Some of them die on the road.

I also realized that if I became a doctor I could only serve those who could afford it. So, I stayed for a month. But even before the month ended, I already said I wanted to be fulltime in the NPA. Aside from the “pressure” from comrades, hahaha, the eklavu of comrades that “gusto nga nating baguhin yung chuva chuva (“we want to change), it was my own

L: Joining the army is a difficult decision especially for someone like you. But it’s even more difficult to persist. How was your more than a year in the NPA?

KR: Actually, wait, where’s my English. Handkerchief, please! (Laughter.)

Well, I am now one year and three months in the army. Of course, life in the NPA is not always fun. It is coupled with sacrifice, loneliness, longing for family, and, yes, for the food out there. Char! (Laughter.) There should always be food in my bag. Even if I don’t eat them as long as I see them, it’s enough morale booster. It’s like go girl, you still have some food here! Hahaha!

The hardest part is not about the long treks but one’s morale. Mao has said courage stems from one’s consciousness. We have to feed our consciousness, raise our ideological level to overcome hardships. On our consciousness anchors our goal, our principles, our will to fight. I find my strength when I read documents like “I Engage” or the “Diary of Tuy” of Vietnam. You can actually do anything as long as you have the will.

L: How do you overcome the physical strain, especially for a woman like you?

KR: Of course, I am capable because… I am big, hahaha! The ascents are indeed back-breaking especially because I have a pack and an armalite. But the comrades will never leave you, they are always there to help. They even carry your backpack if they see you are having a hard time. They help you overcome your difficulties. That’s it!

As a woman, it’s a hassle during rainy season. Also it’s hard not to be able to take a bath. Menstrual period is another burden. But over time, you’ll get used to it. Before, I could not even put up a clothesline for my wet clothes. Like, 30 minutes would pass, my shoulder numbed, and I wasn’t done with the clothesline yet. After a month, I could easily pitch even my tent.

When I came here, I brought along some wipes (wet tissues, used to cleanse after defecating) for a month’s supply. But as days passed, and as the wipes were consumed, I slowly learned to use plant leaves as substitute. Now I know that banana leaves are the softest and the best.

L: How many women are there in your unit?

KR: Less than 10; two are married and one of them has a child. If we include the other units, there are 20 in all—an undersized platoon. We are a mix of petty bourgeois from the cities and local folk. Majority are from the youth sector.

L: What were your other trying moments?

KR: Perhaps the long walks. I am still adjusting to this, especially when it rains and we pass through muddy paths, where at times the mud is up to my knees. There were also times when we can’t turn on our flashlights because the enemy is around.

We had this two weeks of food shortage. We only had galyang (a rootcrop) for rice and another part of galyang for viand. We mashed them together. Even the salt was already wet. I asked myself, “What have I gotten myself into?” Then there was also a time when there was really no rice, no coffee, no sugar. There was really no food supply. The enemies blocked the entry of supplies that even the food of the masses were not allowed. In fact, the soldiers urged the masses to leave the barrios supposedly to prevent them from bringing food to us.

There was a time, too when we were not able to take a bath for 10 days. There were also instances when we were sweating the whole day, then it would rain. Yet, nobody left the army during those trying times.

L: Have you experienced actual battle? How did you feel?

KR: The time when we had nothing to eat, that was also my first experience with an actual firefight. I wasn’t nervous but the first shot stunned me. At first, we thought a bamboo tree just fell down. But, when we heard the volley of fires, we realized it was no longer just a bamboo tree falling down, hahaha! “Hindi na ‘to kawayan, kaaway na to! Hahaha! Laban na pala ‘yun. (This is no longer a bamboo tree, these are enemies! That was real firefight.)”

Initially, I did not know what to do. I just took my backpack and followed the command. I had a hard time getting to the top of the mountain because of my weight, and the heavy pack and rifle. Presence of mind is important. That’s that!

I’ll tell you something. It is about food again. (Laughter). That time, we only had two unripened bananas for breakfast. But, the two bananas sustained us to face our enemies in a firefight. Dalawang saging ka lang (You’re good for just two bananas)! Hahaha! Our two bananas equaled our enemies.

The battle itself was not that difficult. The retreat was more challenging because a helicopter kept hovering over us. We felt it could see us. As first timers our fear was being shot by a machine gun from above. I am energized just by remembering how we overcame those difficulties.

L: How about when loneliness sneaks in?

KR: I criticize myself for not sharing my problems. I just stay in my hammock, in my hut and stare blankly at anything. I do try hard to open up to comrades now because it’s hard to carry emotional baggages.

Totoo naman, di ba? Mas madaling maglakad na malaya ‘yung isip mo. Kahit nga ‘yung wala kang dala, kapag may mabigat kang iniisip, ang hirap maglakad, di ba? Mahirap makalayo, mahirap makarating sa gusto mong puntahan. (It’s true! It’s easier to move around when your mind is free from worries. When your mind is troubled, it’s difficult to walk even without a pack, to go far, to reach your destination.)

L: What experience is your happiest?

KR: When I witnessed the actual setting up of the people’s government — the election of officials, the charting of plans and the one-year program, and the way they govern the barrio. Recently, I got high with the anti-feudal campaign — how it was planned and how the dialogue between the farmers and the traders resulted in the lowering of loan interests. That’s it! This was the most successful anti-feudal campaign that the army had launched in recent years.

L: How did your parents react when you joined the NPA?

KR: I was home after my graduation, one month before I entered the guerrilla zone and decided to join the red army. After two months in the army, I requested to go home to formally tell my parents that I would go fulltime. The comrades did not allow me. Five months later, I wrote my parents that I had joined the NPA. No reply. (Laughter)

But they later sent word asking me to go home just to dispel people’s suspicion that I had joined the NPA. I told them not to mind them; people would eventually grow tired and lose interest in it.

L: Have they visited you here?

KR: Not yet. They are still afraid.

L: How about you? Have you visited them? What was their reaction?

KR: Recently, I went home with my buddy. My mother cried because I had lost weight. Tears of joy! (Laughter). My buddy told me my mother could not stop crying when they talked “because it is only now that Rio has lost weight.” My buddy kept on laughing.

When we went to market, my mother remarked, “Hala, mangongotong kayo.” (“Hala, you are going to extort.”) I replied, “Hala, is that how you raised me? Did I graduate just to extort? If I wanted to extort, I could have just landed a job. There are more to extort there.” (Laughter) She kept silent.

L: Didn’t they ever reprimand you? The usual thing parents tell their children: “I sent you to school…!”

KR: I never heard any of that. When I asked my father for some pizza, his reply was: “How much would it cost to put up a pizza store? Come home and just sell pizza.” (Laughter) Sell pizza! Haggard! My father knows that food is my weakness. (Laughter). When parents see how decisive and determined their children are in carrying out their work, they eventually support us.

L: How do they support you now?

KR: With food, of course! (Laughter). Once, I “begged” for some groceries. My mother sent me all that I listed down with a note that Papa was waiting for payment. (Laughter). I could not help laughing because now my father no longer asks when I would go home but when I would pay for the groceries. When I went home, my mother and my sister bought me things I needed. My sister even packed my things. Happy! Less worry!

L: How did you prepare them for that?

KR: I did nothing, because I wasn’t even prepared myself, hahaha! It was a surprise for all of us!

When I was not yet a KM member, activists would go to our house. They spent Christmas there. My mother asked me if they were activists and I said no. I truly did not know then if they were activists. I wasn’t aware of what an activist was.

L: Did you explain to them what you were doing?

KR: Yes. I told them about our community immersions, the mining, the semi-feudal exploitation, things like those. I told them my experiences in school. They understood of course because they, too, felt the hardships. They see corruption as a cause of poverty. They just need orientation on the correct line. I just need to inject the prime role of imperialism to help them complete their analysis.

L: Did you also share your experiences here in the guerrilla zone? What was their reaction?

KR: Yes. I sent them a letter but when comrades read the letter I was about to send, they said it was not a letter, “This is ED (short for Educational Discussion).”

My parents reaction? E di mayat! (Fine!) (Laughter) But of course, as parents their usual concern is safety. I told them about the land distribution we do. Papa retorted “but the enemies are hunting you.” I told him our enemies are those who deprived the farmers of land. My father just lapsed into silence and he simply said, “Take care.” They have truly accepted my being here.

L: Love life?

KR: None! (Laughter.)

Once, someone proposed a “program” (a process of courtship within the Party and NPA). I accepted the proposal to see how it will prosper. But, nothing happened. I do not want to enter yet into a relationship. I want to be better in what I do first. Hmm char! But of course, at my age… There was someone I liked. But, haayyy… he went down (left the revolutionary movement).

L: What are the most valuable things you receive from friends in the city?

KR: What’s this, questions in a slumbook? (Laughter). Letters make me happy. But, I am happier when food goes with the letters, hahaha! When there are people coming from another Front or from the city, I always hope, I always ask if there are letters for me. Of course, I miss my friends and comrades in the city.

L: What is your most cherished experience?

KR: Now, this one is really for a slumbook! (Laughter). Plenty, especially in the guerrilla zone.

Like, I told my mother not to worry about me because there are many mothers here who take care of me. You know, when the people’s army starts packing our things to leave a barrio, the masses are upset. They did not want us to leave. They wanted the army to stay. Of course, we could not stay in a place forever. We want to go on expanding the movement.

There was also that mother who, because I was single, wanted me to stay and be her daughter-in-law. Another suggested that when I get married, the wedding should be held in their barrio so they could attend. I just smiled when I heard these. Then, there were these simple things they gave voluntarily­—shampoo, soap, even a bag. It would be embarrassing not to accept these gifts from them.

We leave a mark among the masses because they feel the warmth in how we relate with them. You know, the masses need not work if the army were there. Somebody from the army cooks, another cleans. The comrades go on shifts in their tasks. That’s probably one of the reasons why the masses seem not to want the army to leave, hahaha!

“‘Yung kahit gaano kalayo at nakakapagod ‘yung lakaran, kapag sinalubong ka nila nang kasing init ng iaalok nilang kape, yun ang pinakamasarap” (The most gratifying, after a long and tedious hike, is the masses’ warm welcome, as warm as the coffee they offer).

L: Have you experienced any difficulty in dealing with the masses?

KR: In the expansion areas in another province, yes. We were also assigned there; just a team. Our task is to hold meetings in the villages and form a GP (Grupong Pang-organisa, organizing group). Because it is an expansion area, which had not been visited for decades by the NPA, it was exacting. But since we relentlessly pursued raising their consciousness and explaining the need for a GP, they finally agreed to form one. It seemed difficult to relate with the masses at the beginning. They were hesitant to put up the GP. But because they looked up to their elders, the most senior in the barrio, we invested on the latter by raising their awareness. So finally, they agreed to put up a GP.

They have issues on the prices of gabi (taro root) and ginger. Traders buy these from them at only Php 3.00 per kilo. Then there was also the issue of mining. We explained these issues to them as well as other issues on feudal exploitation.

L: What has changed now that you are with the people’s army?

KR: Now, this one is really for Miss Universe! Water, please! (Laughter).

Before, I was shy to face people. Perhaps, this is the breakthrough—I have overcome my shyness. I have also improved on how I deal with people. I can now easily relate with all kinds of people. My perspective broadened. Before, I was full of subjectivism and idealism. “E bakit ganito? Dapat ganito! (Why is it like this? It should be like this!)” I had a lot of “should be’s” and “why this?” without knowing how things happened. Now, I have become more discerning as I continue to broaden my understanding of things, especially because my tasks include ensuring the high morale of comrades, to help them solve their problems.

Pero syempre, ‘yung pinakaimportante du’n, ‘yung kapasyahan mo na kapag may gusto ka talagang gawin na pagpapaulad sa sarili mo, syempre ibukas mo ‘yung sarili mo sa pag-unlad. Tulungan mo ‘yung sarili mo para umunlad ka. Kaya ‘yung lahat ng gawain, kung gusto mong matutunan, ‘yun ‘yung dapat mong maging aktitud. ‘Yung gusto mo laging may matututunan. (But of course, the most important thing is your determination to become better, to be open to change, development, and help yourself grow. The right attitude is to learn the different tasks, to crave for new knowledge.)

Solving the Drug Problem (Part 3 of 3)

in Mainstream

The New People’s Army  fight vs Drugs

by Pat Gambao

Aware of the disastrous consequences on people, the society and the revolution, the revolutionary movement from its inception has been fighting the drug menace—long before Duterte started his own “drug war”.

The organs of political power in the guerrilla zones have impressed on the masses the dangers of addictive drugs. In conjunction with this, they helped the masses cope with the prevailing conditions that forced them to turn to drugs either for the money to beat the debilitating poverty or to escape from its reality. People were organized and they joined hands to increase production and income. They were initiated to meaningful activities. They were trained for tasks on health care and education to fill in the vacuum left in the far-flung barrios by the reactionary government. The youth were drawn to sports and cultural activities that challenge their vibrant energy and creativity.

Through political education the masses have been enlightened and have fully understood the root cause of their problems and the solution that is in their very hands. Their awakening has instilled in them a sense of purpose for being. With these the scourge of addictive drugs was eventually licked as they imbibed the revolutionary discipline.

In 2015 for example, the revolutionary youth movement, Kabataang Makabayan (KM, Patriotic Youth) in Central Luzon launched various activities in their respective barrios to draw the youth, as well as adults, away from marijuana and shabu. The KM conducted forums on the youth situation and how the decadent system has engendered the problems of drugs and criminality. It led meetings with the barrio youth to plan on productive activities with them. They formed a basketball league and held tournaments lasting for one and a half months. Some 50 youth participated in the tournaments initially. The number swelled later.

Simultaneous with these activities, the New People’s Army (NPA) in coordination with the Party branches issued series of warnings to pushers and users in the barrios of Central Luzon. The NPA, in coordination with the KM, widely disseminated the policy of the revolutionary movement and the people’s democratic government on the trafficking and use of drugs, be it in small or huge volume.

Meantime, drug traffickers, their activities, networks and laboratories in the guerrilla fronts of Panay were banned. The Coronacion Chiva “Waling-waling” Command of the NPA uprooted the marijuana plantations in Barangay Buloc, Tubungan town a few years back. Two years ago, a known drug dealer was arrested, disarmed and driven out of the NPA front after bringing in drugs in a town in Capiz. In April 2016, the Napoleon Tumagtang Command, also based in Panay Island, launched a campaign against illegal drugs in barangays surrounding the town of Tubungan. The drug production facilities of drug lord Edwin Odicta in the NPA area and the entry of the Richard Provendido’s drug syndicate in San Joaquin, Iloilo has been subject of NPA’s surveillance. Odicta was shot by an unidentified man on his way back home from Manila while Provendido was killed in a police operation.

In 2016, the revolutionary movement in Northern Samar investigated illegal drug trafficking that implicated high officials of the province.

In the Southern Mindanao Region, the NPA has launched tactical offensives to dismantle the network of operation of drug syndicates. A police chief here once said that criminality and drug addiction is practically absent in areas where the NPA is strong. In the Central Mindanao Region, the NPA burned marijuana plantations run by the killer paramilitary group Alamara.

Aware of the NPA’s fight against drugs, Duterte has once called on them to run after drug lords. However, seeing that the Duterte regime’s war on drugs is clearly anti-democratic and anti-people, having become a frenzied campaign of extrajudicial killings and vigilante murders perpetrated by the police and police-linked criminal syndicates, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) withdrew its support to the regime’s drug campaign.

The revolutionary movement recognizes that the drug plague is rooted in the basic problems confronting the Filipino people—the historic imperialist dominance perpetuating the feudal and bureaucrat capitalist conditions in the country. The NPA will continue its anti-drug campaign but will adhere to its policy of differentiating poor drug users and victims of drug abuse from the rabid perpetrators of the drug trade. The NPA will continue to intensify its campaign to arrest and disarm drug trade operators and protectors in its territory.

The revolutionary movement has its own criminal justice system and offenders are given due process as well as due punishment. Meanwhile poor drug victims will be rescued and rehabilitated through political education and meaningful activities.

SOLVING THE DRUG PROBLEM (Part 1 of 3):
Duterte’s Drug War: Via Body Count or the People’s Movement
SOLVING THE DRUG PROBLEM (Part 2 of 3):
China’s Experience Under Mao

The Jennifer “Maria” Cariño Command

in Cherish

In 2017, the New People’s Army (NPA) in Benguet province launched a successful raid in a police outpost in the town of Buguias. Aside from confiscating firearms and ammunition and radio sets, the action was “punitive” because of the illegal and anti-social activities of the Buguias policemen, among them: extortion activities from vegetable farmers, drug trafficking, and operation of bars. The raid was led by the Jennifer Cariño Command-NPA.

Long before Jennifer Cariño became a command, she was Jingjing, born on March 4, 1950 in Baguio City to a well-to-do and respected Ibaloy family. Her mother hails from Cebu. She was bequeathed the beautiful features of an Ibaloy-Cebuano blend. Her grandfather was the first Igorot Mayor of Baguio City where the family owned the land now occupied by the Camp John Hay.

Why would a young woman gifted with beauty and brains leave behind her affluent family and all the opportunities for a comfortable life and distinguished place in the professional arena for a risky and difficult life in a guerrilla zone, among the most impoverished masses, her kailian?

In Jingjing’s veins ran the blood of a fighter. Her grandfather, Mateo Cariño, filed a suit in the US court against the American intrusion into their land. In high school, Jingjing wrote an article in their school organ in protest of the remark of then Foreign Affairs Secretary Carlos P. Romulo that Igorots are not Filipinos.

Jingjing was a conscientious student. She was often seen alone in the campus grounds pensively poring on a book. In the classroom, she was never satisfied with mere statement of facts. She would dig deeper, posing no nonsense questions to her professors. She wanted more—realities and truths. She was indeed a no nonsense student. She was an A-1 student especially in Physics and Math courses at the University of the Philippines-Baguio.

But it was not all cerebral work for Jingjing. The music in her soul brought her to folk houses around the city, singing with the strum of her guitar. She idolized the Beatles.

In her junior year, Jingjing ran for the student council under the Progressive Party taking up the issues of lower tuition fees and removal of the Spanish course. That probably started her activism years.

In 1969, she became a member of the Kabataang Makabayan-Baguio Chapter. She led student actions supporting market vendors in their fight against demolition and striking workers in their demand for higher wages and better working conditions. Later, she dropped out of school and became full time activist. The music in her soul was shared with activists as they sang protest songs and staged cultural presentations in rallies.

In 1972, Jingjing married Gilbert Pimentel, an activist from the Lyceum University in Manila who was organizing Benguet farmers at that time. Gilbert also hails from the Cordilleras. They had a meeting of the minds on many political issues, particularly the national minority question. It was also on the same year when their house raided but she eluded arrest. Later, she left Baguio disguised as a nun.

When Gilbert was arrested after, Jingjing left her baby with her family with the fervent request that Malaya, her daughter, be apprised when she grew up of what her parents had fought for. She joined the NPA and lived in Ifugao serving the most impoverished masses in the Kalanguya territory. Ka Maria, as she became known in the guerrilla zone, taught the illiterate masses how to read and write. She also served as medical staff. And she did what she loved most, wrote revolutionary songs and taught these to the masses.

Her enlightenment from the campus DGs (discussion groups) on Marxism, Leninism and Maoism, the truth and realities she found from her integration with the masses, the oppression and exploitation doubly experienced by the national minorities of which she belonged and the invincible aspiration of the revolutionary movement to dismantle the unjust structures and end man’s inhumanity amplified her resolve to serve the revolution. And this resolve warranted yielding all her privileges and giving all her endowments for the revolution.

Ka Maria, the beloved comrade of the tribe, died in 1976 in Hungduan, Ifugao.

Isang Hapon ng Kwentuhan kay Ka Rio, Kabataang Makabayan, Hukbo ng Bayan

in Mainstream
by Liberation Staff

Eskwela, pamilya, mga pangarap, buhay-pakikibaka. Ilan lamang ito sa mga ipinasilip ni Ka Rio sa aming kwentuhan, isang hapon sa isang sonang gerilya. Tunghayan ang isang millennial na sumasalungat sa dikta ng lipunang sa kabila ng kabulukan ay sumisibol ang mga kagaya niyang pag-asa ng bayan.

 

KAILAN KA NAGSIMULANG KUMILOS?

Naorganisa ako nu’ng second year college ako. Mula ako sa isang local State U (university) ng region. Kasagsagan ‘yun ng campaign sa tuition at miscellaneous fees. Dahil nga pabibo, e di join-join ako. Tapos alam mo ‘yung ano ng kabataan na adventurous, e di ganyan, sali-sali.

Nagpapapirma ako sa mga estudyante ng petisyon na wag natin payagan ‘yung ganito. Ayun, hindi na natuloy ‘yung plano sa school dahil sa petisyong ginawa ng mga organisasyon ng mga estudyante. ‘Yun ‘yung tumulong para i-pursue ang paglaban ng mga kabataang estudyante.

Pero hindi pa ‘ko nagtuloy-tuloy sa pagkilos nu’n. May patlang.
‘Yung sumunod, merong environmental investigative mission sa isang probinsya na merong problema sa mining. E dahil nga ma-adventure ako—at dahil dagat ‘yun!—e, di sama-sama ‘ko. Du’n ako mas na-agit (agitate). Bakit may ganito? Na sa kabila ng kayamanan ng Pilipinas, bakit may mga taong naghihirap— yung magsasaka, mga mangingisda? From there, nagtuloy-tuloy na ‘yung mga activities ko. Nag-gift giving sa isang komunidad ng mga katutubo. Du’n ako nag-Pasko sa kanila.

 

KM KA NA BA NU’NG PANAHONG ‘YAN?

Hindi pa ako KM (Kabataang Makabayan) nu’n. Basta aktibista. Isa rin ako sa KK nu’n— Kandidatong Kontak! Kasi nga ang tagal na pero hindi pa rin narerekrut! Ilang buwan pa bago ‘ko naging KM. Mula nu’n nagtuloy-tuloy na, hindi na ako napigil. Sumasama ako sa mga RTR (room-to-room) na pagrerekrut, pag-i-ED (educational discussion) sa mga estudyante.

Tapos, naglunsad ng mga pag-aaral sa isang sona (sonang gerilya), du’n pa lang ako nabigyan ng MKLRP, after a month na na-KM ako! Hahaha!

 

KUMUSTA ‘YUNG PAG-AARAL MO NU’NG NAGING AKTIBO KA NA SA PAGKILOS?

Sa eskwelahan, ‘yung oras lang na allotted sa mga subjects ko, du’n lang ako pumapasok. Tapos ‘yung the rest, nasa ibang kolehiyo na ‘ko, kumakausap ng mga estudyante, nagrerekrut. Hindi naman ako tumigil sa pag-aaral. Pinagsasabay ko ‘yung pagkilos at pag-aaral. Mas maano nga e, dahil guided na ‘ko ng MLM (Marxismo-Leninismo-Maoismo) principles, ‘yung kahit simpleng pagsusuri sa mga bagay-bagay, naa-apply ko s’ya sa loob ng eskwelahan kaya mas broader at sharper ‘yung mga pagsusuri sa loob ng eskwelahan.

Scholar ako. Hindi ako nagbabayad ng mga tuition fee kasi consistent college scholar. Basta ‘yun ‘yung ano ko sa nanay ko, na ok lang maging aktibista kasi hindi ko naman napapabayaan ang pag-aaral ko. Kahit sa gitna ng examination, midterm ganyan, nakakapunta ako ng mga activities labas sa eskwelahan. Nakakapunta pa ‘ko sa ibang probinsya. Hindi ako mag-e-exam pero kakausapin ko ‘yung prof ko, sasabihin ko na may mga ganitong activity. Dahil pinagkakatiwalaan nila ‘ko na hindi naman ako pabaya sa pag-aaral, pinapayagan nila ‘ko. Nag-e-exam ako pagkatapos na ng activity ko, ganyan.

Kasabay rin nu’n, ako ‘yung president ng academic organization namin sa school.

 

ANO BA’NG KURSO MO?

Psych. AB Psychology ako. Nagkasabay minsan na may pajama party kami sa academic organization namin tapos may ED din. E, ako ‘yung presidente ng org namin, hindi ako nakapunta sa ED! Hahaha! Nasayang ko ‘yung pagkakataon na ‘yun kasi du’n din sana ako bibigyan ng MK (MKLRP – Maikling Kurso sa Lipunan at Rebolusyong Pilipino).

 

HINDI KA BA PINIGILAN NG MGA TEACHER O KAKLASE MO NA BAKA MAKAAPEKTO SA PAG-AARAL MO ‘YUNG PAGKILOS MO?

Siguro dahil ‘yung eskwelahan namin may isyu dati na naghukbo ‘yung mga estudyante, tingin nila na ‘yung organisasyon na sinasalihan ko ay aktibista, rekruter daw ng hukbo, ganyan-ganyan. Sa unang bahagi hindi naman nila ako sinasabihang ‘wag ka d’yan’. Sabi lang ‘mag-ingat ka d’yan.’ E di, ‘ok!’.

 

PAANO MO BINALANSE ANG PAG-AARAL AT PAGKILOS LALO NA’T ISKOLAR KA?

Pwede kong isantabi ang pag-aaral ko. Babalikan ko siya pagkatapos ng activity. Kaya hindi naging hadlang ‘yung pag-aaral ko sa pagkilos— o baligtarin natin— hindi naging hadlang ‘yung pag-kilos ko sa pag-aaral, ganyan.

Kung nandu’n ‘yung kapasyahan mo na lumaban at ‘yung diwa mo na talagang maglingkod sa estudyante at mamamayan, kahit ano’ng panahon ‘yan, pwede kang lumarga. Hindi ‘yun nagiging rason basta nandu’n ‘yung diwang palaban mo.

Nu’ng fourth year, naging chair ako ng isang University-wide na organisasyon. E di, mas lalong humihingi ‘yun ng panahon sa pagkilos dahil ako nga ‘yung nakatoka. May campaign din, ‘yung pagpapataas ng budget para sa mga State universities kasi may banta pa rin ng pagtataas ng tuition.

Kaya nagpapaliwanag kami sa mga estudyante, hindi dapat burden ng mga estudyante… mga chuchu…dapat ‘yung gobyerno ‘yung singilin natin, ganyan. Another round ng petition ulit! Petition signing, recruitment, ED, RTR na prop ‘yung pinagpapalit-palit na ginagawa namin sa loob ng school.

Nagampanan ko naman ‘yung mga ganu’n habang nag-aaral. Tapos nagti-thesis pa ‘ko nu’n. Thesis. OJT. Yung OJT ko, thrice a week ‘yun pero sa pagitan nu’n pumapasok ako sa school para du’n pa rin sa kampanya, rekrutment, ED.

Kaya ayun, bongga lang ‘pag naiisip ko. Tumbling. Lagare! Hahaha!

 

ANO ANG NAGING EPEKTO NG PAGIGING AKTIBISTA MO?

Karerista ako nu’ng hindi pa ‘ko aktibista. ‘Yung goal ko talaga, maka-graduate nang laude— cum laude, ganyan. Dapat maintained yung grades ko, dapat college scholar ako lagi.
Nu’ng nagtibak ako, mas tumaas pa ‘yung grado ko, nag-university scholar pa nga ako. Kaya sabi ko, hindi talaga hadlang ‘yun. Kapag nakikita mo, mas lumalawak ‘yung pang-unawa mo sa mga bagay-bagay; mas matalino ka sa loob ng eskwelahan. Di ba? Totoo naman ‘yun, e. Kasi hindi ka nakakulong sa apat na sulok ng pamantasan. ‘Yung teoryang nakukuha natin, mas naa-apply ko nga lalo’t psychology ‘yung kurso ko: paano naaapektuhan ng lipunan ‘yung pag-iisip ng tao. Mga ganu’ng eme! Hahaha!

 

CUM LAUDE KA NU’NG NAGTAPOS NG KOLEHIYO, HINDI KA BA KINUMBINSI NG PAMILYA MONG MAGTRABAHO?

Pag-graduate ko, hindi agad ako umuwi sa bahay namin. Agad-agad, pumakat ako pagkatapos ng graduation. Kinukumbinsi ako ng nanay ko na umuwi kasi parang may salo-salo sa bahay. Alam mo na, graduation tapos may honors pa ‘ko. Pero sabi ko, wag na. Parang hindi ko na rin inisip ‘yung mga pahanda-handa. ‘Yung mga ka-batch ko ng hayskul may mga laude rin. E di kantyawan, ‘pakain ka naman!’Pero after how many months later pa ‘ko bago umuwi sa bahay namin. E di wala na, panis na! Hahaha!

 

ANO’NG GINAWA MO? SA’N KA PUMAKAT?

Nagkomyu (community) kami nu’ng bakasyon. Nag-school-based din ako pagkatapos. Pero ang mungkahi ko du’n sa mga kakolektib (collective) ko, ayoko du’n sa pinag-aralan ko. Gusto ko sa iba na. Kilala kasi ako ng mga dean, mga prof.

Tapos parang pinepersonal kasi ako dun e. Nu’ng wala na ‘ko sa school, may narinig akong kwento na sabi raw ng OSS namin, hindi naman daw ako deserving mag-cum laude chuva-chuva kasi nga raw tibak ako, ganyan. Bitter! Hahaha!

 

KAILAN KA SUMAMPA SA HUKBO? PAANO ‘YUNG PAGHAHANDA MO?

Two years ako sa YS bago ako nag-CS. Comedy lang ‘yung pagpasok ko sa sona (sonang gerilya) nu’n kasi hindi naman talaga ako magti-TOD (tour of duty). Parang meet and greet lang sa mga hukbo, ganyan. Kasama ko ‘yung mga bagong KM, pinapakilala sa kanila ano ang hukbo, eme. Ako naman joiner. Tapos parang ako ‘yung naantig ba, na magpaiwan! Hahaha!

Di ba kampuhan nga ‘yung pinasukan namin, ED festival. Meron du’n isang kasama na gusto nang magpahayag ng pagpupultaym pero 16 years old pa lang so hindi pa pwede. Parang naisip ko, ‘hala siya naiisip na niyang magpultaym kahit 16 pa lang siya, pero ako 22 na ‘ko, hindi ko man lang maisip ‘yun.’ ‘Yung mas bata sa‘kin nakakaisip nang magpultaym kesa sa’kin na mas matanda. “Ano ba, teh?” Ganu’n ‘yung feeling ko.

Tapos meron pang isang kasamang kadre-militar na galing sa lokal, medyo hirap magbasa. Pauwi ako sa kubo ko, nakita ko siyang nagbabasa nang malakas “DA-PAT-PAG-A-RA-LAN…” Matanda na siya. Sabi ko, ‘Ano ba ‘yan!’ Parang na-antig na naman ako. Dito ka na talaga, teh! Hahaha! Eto na talaga ‘yun. Kasi parang ang husay-husay na niyang kadre-militar pero gusto pa niyang mas mahusay na paglingkuran ‘yung mamamayan sa pamamagitan ng pagtataas ng kamulatan sa taktika ng pakikidigma. Kahit na hirap siyang magbasa pero dahil gusto niya, pinu-push niyang magbasa. Sabi ko sa sarili ko, ‘Ikaw ganito, nakapag-aral ka pa!” Hahaha!

 

WALA PA BA SA PLANO MO ANG SUMAMPA SA HUKBO?

‘Yung isang kasama ko lang talaga ang magti-TOD. Wala talaga ‘kong balak magpaiwan. Gusto ko pang mag-aral. Gusto kong magdoktor kasi pangarap ko yun. Nakahiram na ‘ko ng reviewer, nagpaalam na ‘ko sa nanay ko magte-take ako ng entrance exam.

Nasabi ko na rin sa mga kasama sa kampuhan na gusto kong magdoktor. Sabi nila, “E di dito ka na lang magdoktor.” Totoo rin naman, pwede naman talaga. Sa sampung taong namamatay, pito du’n ‘yung hindi nakakakita ng doktor bago mamatay. E lalo dito na sobrang layo ng ospital. Hirap talaga ‘yung masa kasi nga mamamatay na ‘yung pasyente pero nandito pa rin sila sa baryo, nandyan ka pa rin sa daan. Mamamatay na ‘yung pasyente pero papunta ka pa lang.

Tapos napag-isip-isip ko kung magdodoktor ako, sino ‘yung paglilingkuran ko? Syempre ‘yung mayayaman pa rin, ganyan-ganyan ‘yung rason ko. Isa ‘yun sa factor kung bakit ako nagpahayag na magpaiwan for one month.

Pero hindi ko pa naaabot ‘yung one month, nagdeklara na ‘kong magpultaym talaga sa hukbo. Aside sa comrade pressure, hahaha ‘yung eklabu ng mga kasama na “gusto nga nating baguhin ‘yung chuva-chuva,” nag-decide na rin talaga ‘ko.

 

MAHIRAP MAG-DECIDE PARA SA KAGAYA MO ANG SUMANIB SA HUKBO, PERO MAS MAHIRAP ‘YUNG MANATILI. PAANO KA TUMAGAL NANG MAHIGIT ISANG TAON NA?

Actually, wait lang kuha lang ako ng English ko. Pengeng panyo! Hahaha!

Ano, nakakatagal naman, e di ngayon isang taon at tatlong buwan na ‘kong pultaym. Syempre sa buhay hukbo naman talaga, hindi lang naman puro saya. May kakambal siyang sakripisyo, lungkot sa pagka-miss sa pamilya mo, sa labas… sa pagkain, char! Hahaha! ‘Yung bag ko nga dapat hindi nawawalan ng pagkain e. Kahit hindi mo kakainin basta nakikita mo ‘yung pagkain, pang ano lang, pampataas ng morale, “Uy may pagkain pa ‘ko!” Hahaha!

Sakripisyo at sakripisyo din talaga ‘yung ibibigay mo.

Hindi lang ‘yan hirap sa lakaran, kundi ‘yung sa morale din. Pero dahil sabi nga ni Mao, “’Yung katapangan ay nagmumula sa kamulatan natin.” Kaya ang dapat na pini-feed mo lagi ay ‘yung kamulatan mo—‘yung ideo ba—‘yung pagpapataas ng ideo. Para malampasan mo kahit na anong hirap. Kasi ‘yung diwa mo, nakaturol du’n sa layunin mo mismo, ‘yung prinsipyo natin na lumaban. Lagi’t lagi, parang napapansin ko sa sarili ko nagbabasa ako ng dokumento, o kahit na ‘yung I Engage pati ‘yung diary ni Tuy sa Vietnam, kapag nakakabasa ako kahit ilang pages lang, yakang-yaka ko kapag lakaran. Kayang-kaya mo talaga basta may kapasyahan ka. ‘Yun nga, ‘yung katapangan ay nagmumula sa ating kamulatan, sabi ni Mao.

 

‘YUNG PHYSICAL NA HIRAP, LALO NA ISANG BABAE, PAANO MO NILALAMPASAN?

Syempre dahil nga ano… malaki ako! Hahaha! Talagang hirap na hirap din sa akyatan. Hirap pa ‘yung pack ko. May baril pa ‘ko. Pero dahil nga sa mga kasama, hindi ka naman iiwan n’yan, e. Tutulungan at tutulungan ka. Papasanin ‘yung bag mo kapag hirap ka na talaga. Tutulungan ka nila hanggang sa unti-unti mong malagpasan ‘yung mga kahirapan, ganyan.

Bilang babae… hassle ‘pag tag-ulan. Mahirap din yung hindi makaligo. Tapos duduguin ka pa! Pero unti-unti, makakasanayan din.

Dati nu’ng kampuhan, hindi pa ‘ko hukbo nu’n, gumagawa ako ng sampayan. Pero hindi ako marunong magtali kagaya ng ginagawa ng mga kasama ‘yung hindi lumalaylay. Tapos 30 minutes nang nakasampay sa balikat ‘yung basa kong damit, hindi pa rin ako tapos. Umuulan din nu’n, gusto ko nang magsampay kasi nangangawit na ‘yung braso ko. Paano ba ‘to? Shet ayoko na! Hahaha! Sampayan pa lang ‘yun ha! Pero ngayon napag-aralan ko na, yakang-yaka na! Ilang buwan lang din, marunong na ‘kong gumawa ng sariling tent. Chicken!

Nung pumasok ako, may dala akong wipes (wet tissue paper). Good for yung stay ko lang. Kaso nagdesisyon nga akong magpaiwan na. Habang nauubos ang wipes ko, unti-unti akong natuto gumamit ng dahong pamunas pag nagbawas. Ngayon, alam ko nang ang dahon ng saging ang pinakamalambot na pamunas.

 

ILAN KAYONG BABAE SA YUNIT?

Less than 10? Tapos ilan lang ‘yung may asawa du’n, dalawa. ‘Yung isa may anak na, ‘yung isa wala pa. Pero pagka pati ‘yung kasama sa ibang yunit, mga 20 siguro. Parang pinaliit na platun.
Haluan din. May mga peti-b (petty bourgeois) galing Maynila, meron ding lokal. Maraming galing sa hanay ng kabataan.

 

ALIN PA ‘YUNG MGA KARANASAN MONG SOBRA KANG NAHIRAPAN?

Siguro sa lakaran mismo. Du’n pa ‘ko nag-a-adjust talaga, e. Lalo ‘yung mahirap na lakaran – maputik, maulan, mataas ‘yung putik sa dadaanan mo, tapos may komand pa na hindi pwedeng mag-ilaw kasi nga may kaaway sa paligid. Nu’ng nasa recovery area kami, yung half day paakyat, half day pababa sa bundok. Ang hirap din nu’n.

Du’n ko naranasan na two weeks hirap sa pagkain. ‘Yung galyang ‘yung ulam mo, galyang din ‘yung kanin mo. Ima-mash mo ‘yung galyang tapos ‘yun na rin ‘yung ulam mo. As in wala na talaga. Pati ‘yung pagsasawsawan mo ng galyang ‘yung mamasa-masa nang asin, as in! Sabi ko, ‘ano ba ‘to?’

Meron pa, ‘yung walang-wala na talagang bigas, walang kape, walang asukal. Wala talagang supply. Pinipigilan din ng mga kaaway na may makapasok na supply. Kahit ‘yung pagkain ng mga masa, hindi inaaprubahan. Pinapababa nga nila sa baryo para hindi raw sila makapagdala ng pagkain sa mga NPA.
May mga pagkakataong sampung araw na walang liguan.

Merong maghapon ka na ngang basa, uulanin ka pa. Pero walang bumaba (umalis sa hukbo) nu’ng panahon ng kahirapan na ‘yun.

 

NARANASAN MO NA BANG MAPALABAN? ANO’NG NARAMDAMAN MO?

Nu’ng parehong panahon din na ‘yun, nu’ng wala kaming makain. First time ko nu’n. Hindi naman ako masyadong kinabahan, ganu’n. Kinabahan ako nu’ng unang putok. Akala pa nga ng marami sa’min, kawayan lang na natumba. Pero nu’ng sunod-sunod na, hindi na ‘to kawayan, kaaway na to! Hahaha! Laban na pala ‘yun.

Nu’ng una, dahil nga first time ko makarinig ng putok, hindi ko alam ‘yung gagawin ko. Kinuha ko lang ‘yung pack ko tapos ‘yun, sumunod na ‘ko sa komand. Nahirapan akong kunin ‘yung turod kasi susi nga ‘yun, dahil nga mabigat ako-may pack pa ‘ko, may baril pa, malubak pa.

‘Yun naman, kailangan may presence of mind ka, ganyan.
May ise-share pa ‘ko pero pagkain na naman, e. Hahaha! Dahil du’n sa duration ng walang pagkain, walang supply, ‘yung breakfast namin nu’n ‘yung saging na matigas pa. ‘Yun ‘yung pinang-umagahan namin bago kami napalaban. Tigdadalawang saging ‘yung S4 (supply) namin. ‘Yung saging na ‘yun ‘yung nagbigay lakas para harapin ‘yung kaaway. Dalawang saging ka lang! Hahaha!

Hindi mahirap ‘yung laban pero mahirap ‘yung atras. Lalo na nu’ng may helicopter na. Feeling mo lagi kang nakikita nu’ng helicopter. ‘Hala baka mag-machine gun ‘yan!’ ganyan-ganyan. ‘Yun ‘yung worries naming mga first time napalaban.

Masaya pag nababalikan, nakakatuwa na nalagpasan lahat ng ganu’ng kahirapan.

 

PAANO KUNG TUMATAMA ANG LUNGKOT?

Minsan talaga napupuna ‘ko sa hindi ko pagsasabi ng mga problema ko. Tunganga lang ako, sa duyan lang ako, sa kubol lang ako. Pero sinisikap ko rin sa sarili ko na mag-open up kasi nga mahirap talaga pag may bagahe. Mas mahirap ‘yung bagahe sa isip kesa ‘yung bagahe mo na nakapasan sa likod mo, ‘yung pack mo. Pak!

Totoo naman, di ba? Mas madaling maglakad na malaya ‘yung isip mo. Kahit nga ‘yung wala kang dala, kapag may mabigat kang iniisip, ang hirap maglakad, di ba? Mahirap makalayo, mahirap makarating sa gusto mong puntahan.

 

ANO NAMAN PARA SA’YO ANG PINAKAMASAYANG KARANASAN?

Nu’ng na-witness ko ‘yung mismong pagtatayo ng rebolusyonaryong gobyernong bayan, ‘yung eleksyon ng mga opisyales, ‘yung pagbabalangkas ng plano, ‘yung programa ng isang buong taon, ‘yung kung paano mamamahala sa buong baryo.

Tapos itong kakatapos lang na anti-pyudal na kampanya – kung paano siya nabalangkas na tumurol sa pakikipagdayalogo ng mga magsasaka na naipagtagumpay na mapababa ang porsyento ng mga pautang sa kanila, ganyan.

Sa ngayon, ito rin siguro ‘yung isa sa pinakamasayang inilunsad ng mga hukbo na anti-pyudal na kampanya.

 

ANO’NG NAGING REAKSYON NG PAMILYA MO NU’NG NALAMAN NILANG SUMAPI KA NA SA NPA?

Huling uwi ko nu’ng May, nung eleksyon. Tapos June kami pumasok sa larangan. Mga bandang August, nagpapaalam ako na uuwi na muna pansamantala. Magpapahayag lang ako na magpupultaym na. Hindi ako pinayagan. Bandang November nang sumulat ako sa kanilang naghukbo na ‘ko, walang reply! Hahaha!

Later, nagpaabot sila na uwi raw muna ‘ko. Para raw maalis ‘yung hinala ng mga tao na NPA na ‘ko. Sabi ko, ‘hayaan mo, mapapagod din ‘yan!’

 

NAKADALAW NA SILA SA’YO DITO SA SONA?

Hindi pa. Takot pa sila

 

E, IKAW? NAKADALAW KA NA BA ULI? ANO’NG REAKSYON NILA?

Nitong nakaraan nakauwi ako. Kasama ko ‘yung isang ka-buddy. Naiyak ‘yung nanay ko kasi pumayat daw ako! Tears of joy? Hahaha! Kwento lang ng ka-buddy ko, kinausap daw siya ng nanay ko. “Alam mo,” iyak-iyak daw ‘yung nanay ko, “Bakit, ‘nang?” sabi niya. “Si Rio, ngayon lang pumayat ‘yan!” Tapos tawa nang tawa ‘yung ka-buddy ko habang kinukwento sa’kin, ganyan.

Tapos nu’ng pumunta kami ng palengke, sabi ng nanay ko, “Hala! Mangongotong kayo?” Sabi ko, “Hala! Ganu’n mo ba ‘ko tinitingnan? Grumadweyt ba ‘ko para mangotong lang? Kung talagang mangongotong ako, ‘Ma, magtatrabaho na lang ako! Mas malaki kotong du’n!” Hahaha! Hindi na siya nagsasalita kapag sinasabihan ko nang ganu’n.

 

HINDI SILA NANUMBAT SA’YO? ‘YUNG KARANIWANG SINASABI NA PINAG-ARAL KA PA NILA?

Wala akong narinig na ganu’n. ‘Yung tatay ko, sabi ko, “Pa, gusto ko ng pizza.” Sabi niya, “Magkano ba ‘yung magpatayo ng tindahan ng pizza? Magganu’n ka na lang dito!” Hahaha! Magbenta na lang daw ako ng pizza! Haggard! Alam din ‘yung kahinaan ko, e. Pagkain! Hahaha!

Pero unti-unti, kapag nakikita ng magulang na decisive ‘tsaka determinado tayo sa ginagawa natin, susuportahan naman talaga nila tayo. Na dito nila nakikita na masaya ‘yung anak nila.

 

PAANO KA NILA NGAYON SINUSUPORTAHAN?

Pagkain din! Hahaha! Nagdrama lang ako, sinubukan ko lang manghingi ng grocery. Sabi ni Mama, ‘O sige papadalhan kita.’ E, di sinabi ko ‘yung mga pangangailangan ko. Tapos sabi niya, “Kailan mo raw babayaran ‘yang grocery, sabi ng Papa mo?” Hahaha!

Tawa ‘ko nang tawa kasi hindi na ‘yung pag-uwi ko ang tinatanong ng tatay ko, ‘yung pagbabayad na ng grocery!

Nu’ng umuwi ako, sinamahan pa ‘ko ng nanay at ate ko sa pagbili ng mga gamit pagbalik. ‘Yung ate ko pa ‘yung nag-empake ng gamit ko. Happy! Bawas bagahe.

 

PAANO MO SILA INIHANDA SA GANU’N? MAY CONSCIOUS EFFORT BA PARA IHANDA ‘YUNG MGA MAGULANG?

Wala. Kasi ako nga mismo hindi handa! Hahaha! Surprise sa ating lahat!

Nu’ng hindi pa ako KM, nakapunta na ang mga tibak sa bahay. Du’n sila nag-Christmas. Tanong sa’kin ng nanay ko, “Nak, aktibista ba ‘yang mga kasama mo?” Sabi ko, “Hindi!” Ganu’n ‘yung tanggi ko. E, hindi ko rin alam pa nu’n kung aktibista nga sila. Hindi pa naman ako gaanong mulat kung ano ‘yung aktibista. Pero nu’ng nagra-rally-rally na ‘ko, feeling ko alam na nila.

 

PINAPALIWANAGAN MO SILA NG MGA GINAGAWA MO?

Oo, kinukwento ko sa kanila. Halimbawa ‘yung pakat sa community, ‘yung mining, ‘yung pagsasamantalang malapyudal, mga ganu’n-ganu’n. Tapos mga karanasan ko rin sa eskwelahan.

Naiintindihan naman nila kasi syempre nararamdaman din nila ‘yung hirap. ‘Yung korupsyon mismo ‘yung nakikita nilang rason kung bakit nga naghihirap. Kaya lilinyahan na lang ‘yung kaalaman nila. Papalamnan ko na lang ng anti-imperyalistang linya para wasto ‘yung pagsusuri nila.

 

NAGKUKWENTO KA RIN NG MGA NAGIGING KARANASAN MO RITO SA SONA? ANO’NG REAKSYON NILA?

Oo, nu’ng sumulat ako. Sabi ng mga kasama dito nu’ng pinabasa ko sa kanila, “Hindi naman ‘to sulat, e! ED to, e!”

Reaksyon? E, di mayat! Ok naman. Haha! Pero syempre dahil magulang sila, ang worry lagi nila ay ‘yung security. Sabi ko nga sa kanila, “dito nga nagpapamahagi na kami ng lupa!” Sabi ng Papa ko, “Pero inaanop (hina-hunting) naman kayo ng mga kaaway!” Sabi ko, “Ganu’n talaga kasi sila ‘yung nagkakait ng lupa sa mga magsasaka. Talagang ganu’n ‘yung gagawin nila. E, kami ‘yung nagpapamahagi ng lupa sa mga magsasaka.” Tapos hindi na nakaimik ‘yung tatay ko.

“Basta mag-ingat ka na lang d’yan,” ‘yun lang sagot niya. Tanggap na nila na dito na talaga ako.

 

LABLAYP?

Wala! Hahaha!

May naghapag dati ng program. Tinanggap ko for a time, binigyan ko ng one month pero wala talaga, e. Pero ayoko muna. Paunlad muna, hmmm char!

Syempre, dahil naman ikaw ay kabataan, meron ka ring prospect minsan, nagugustuhan, ganyan. Pero dahil nga ano…. Haayyy… bumaba siya.

 

ANO’NG PAKIRAMDAM MO KAPAG MAY MGA KASAMANG BUMABABA?

Nakakalungkot syempre. May mga naging ka-buddy rin ako na nawala na. Syempre ‘yung layunin na mag-maintain, magparami ng hukbo, magpasampa. Pero ‘yung kasama mo sana sa pagpaparami, sila naman ‘yung umuuwi.

Pero syempre, hindi naman nila iniuwi ‘yung rebolusyon.

 

ANO ‘YUNG PINAKA HINDI MO MAKAKALIMUTANG REGALO, ‘YUNG GALING SA LABAS?

Ano ‘to, slumbook? Hahaha!

Mas natutuwa talaga ako ‘pag may sulat. Pero syempre mas matutuwa pa ‘ko kung may pasalubong na pagkain ‘yung sulat! Hahaha! Palagi kong inaasahan, kapag may galing sa ibang larangan o sa lunsod, lagi kong tinatanong kung may sulat ba. Syempre nami-miss ko sila.

 

ANO’NG MOST LOVED MONG KARANASAN?

Slumbook nga ‘to! Hahaha!

Marami, lalo na dito sa sona. Sabi ko nga sa nanay ko, ‘wag mag-aala dahil marami akong nanay dito na nag-aalaga sa ‘kin.
Meron pa nga ‘yung halimbawa ‘pag nagpa-pack up na, lalakad na kami, feeling ko nagagalit yung masa. Ayaw paalisin ‘yung hukbo, ‘yung ganu’n. Gusto pa nilang mag-stay ‘yung hukbo. Syempre hindi naman pwede dito na lang tayo forever, ganu’n. Gusto pa nating magpalawak, ganyan.

Meron pa ‘yung iba, syempre dalaga ako, ‘yung iba gusto akong manugangin, ‘dito ka na lang.’Tapos meron pa ‘yung isang nanay na nagsabi, “Pag ikakasal ka, dito ka na lang magpakasal, ha. Para malapit lang ako.” Natatawa na lang ako ‘pag nakakarinig ng ganu’n.

Tapos ‘yung mga simpleng mga gamit. Mga gamit na kahit hindi ka humihiling kusa silang nagbibigay. Mga shampoo, mga sabon, kahit bag. Parang mahihiya kang tanggihan kasi nga bigay nila ‘yun. Kunin mo na lang.

Lalo ‘pag mainit ka rin makipag-usap sa kanila, talagang tatatak ka sa kanila. Hindi ka makakalimutan ng masa. Kahit simpleng pagtatrabaho lang sa loob ng bahay. ‘Yung dapat hindi nagtatrabaho ‘yung masa kapag nand’yan ‘yung hukbo. May magluluto, maglilinis, parang ganu’n. Rotation ‘yung mga kasama sa pagtatrabaho. Parang ayaw na nilang paalisin ‘yung mga hukbo.

Tapos ‘yung kahit gaano kalayo at nakakapagod ‘yung lakaran, kapag sinalubong ka nila nang kasing init ng iaalok nilang kape, ‘yun ang pinakamasarap.

 

MAY NARANASAN KA NA BANG NAHIRAPAN KANG MAKITUNGO SA MASA?

Mas sa expansion area, du’n sa ibang probinsya. Kami rin kasi ‘yung nakatoka. Team lang kami. ‘Yung isang sityo, pupulungin tapos bubuuan ng GP (grupong pang-organisa). Dahil nga expansion, tapos dekada nang hindi nakakadalaw ‘yung hukbo doon – mahirap, makunat. Pero dahil assertive tayo tapos hindi napuputol ‘yung pagpapamulat, pagpapataas bakit kailangang itayo ‘yung GP, pumayag din silang itayo ‘yung GP.

Pakikisama. Kasi ‘yung masa nu’n, ‘yung sa pakikisama, mahirap. Parang matigas sila. Parang ayaw magpatayo [ng GP]. Pero dahil may kinikilala silang panglakay(?), pinakamatanda sa sityo, ‘yun ‘yung sinusunod. Syempre du’n ka mag-i-invest ng pamulat. E di pumayag sila na tayuan ng GP.

Kasi isyu sa kanila, tres pesos ‘yung gabi per kilo. Luya, tres pesos. Pero pagdating sa palengke, mahal na. ‘Tsaka ‘yung sa mining area. ‘Yun ‘yung isyu sa kanila nu’n, kaya ayun naman ‘yung ipinaliwanag sa kanila. Kasi punung-puno rin ng isyu sa kanila. ‘Yung pyudal na pagsasamantala tapos ‘yung mining.

 

ANO’NG PINAKAMALAKING NAGBAGO SA’YO NGAYONG NASA HUKBO KA NA?

Pang-miss universe? Pengeng tubig! Hahaha! My pamili…. Hahaha!

Siguro ‘yung… dati mahiyain ako humarap sa mga tao. Pero ngayon, ‘yun ang isang na-breakthrough ko sa sarili ko, ‘yung pagkamahiyain.

Na-strengthen din ‘yung pakikisama at pakikitungo ko sa masa at mga kasama. ‘Yung madali akong makibagay sa kahit anong klaseng tao.

Tapos ‘yung lumawak ‘yung pang-unawa. Dati parang punung-puno ako ng subjectivism. “E bakit ganito? Dapat ganito! Dapat ganito!” Idealism at subjectivism. Ngayon, napag-aralan ko na, at patuloy pa ring pinag-aaralan syempre, na lawakan pa ‘yung pang-unawa. Lalo at ‘yung isang nakatokang gawain sa akin e ‘yung pagpapataas ng morale sa mga kasama. Pagtulong kung paano ang pagresolba sa mga personal nilang problema. Dapat ikaw mismo, ganu’n ka rin sa sarili mo.

Pero syempre, ‘yung pinakaimportante du’n, ‘yung kapasyahan mo na kapag may gusto ka talagang gawin na pagpapaulad sa sarili mo, syempre ibukas mo ‘yung sarili mo sa pag-unlad. Tulungan mo ‘yung sarili mo para umunlad ka. Kaya ‘yung lahat ng gawain, kung gusto mong matutunan, ‘yun ‘yung dapat mong maging aktitud. ‘Yung gusto mo laging may matututunan. ###

Go to Top