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Pulang Bagani Battalion

THE REVOLUTION HAS NO GENDER

in Mainstream
by Markus del Pilar and Pat Gambao

“If we were to be grouped together in this guerrilla front, we would make up a company. But that will not happen. Did you see how rowdy we were during the volleyball game? We could be extremely noisy.” They all guffawed at the idea.
Few are the times that they come together. In fact, some of them have just met each other. They belong to different guerrilla zones and as they said, they cannot be grouped together. Not because they are boisterous but because there is a particular need for them in the areas they were assigned.

They are members of the Pulang Bagani Battalion (PBB) of the New People’s Army (NPA). Revolutionaries. Bayot, gays.

The battle against discrimination

Ka Riko, a choreographer, related that their ‘ninunong bakla’ and ‘anitong bading’ (literally gay “ancestors” and gay “icons”) in the urban centers experienced discrimination from some members of the movement who considered homosexuality a weakness. The gays were criticized for their flipping fingers and swaying hips, especially during rallies. There was even a time when being gay was considered a security risk.

The growing number of gays and lesbians in the Party necessitated thorough studies, ideological remolding and a policy guide for the proper attitude towards members who have expressed their sexual preference. Said efforts are aimed at mitigating if not all together effacing gender discrimination.

Among these was “On Proletarian Relationship of the Sexes (OPRS)”-a Party document to guide relationships and marriages. During the 10th Plenum of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) included the gays and lesbians’ equal rights and accorded recognition of their sexual preferences, as well as the relationships and marriages they opt to enter into.

Also, in due time, the gays have proven their worth. That the flipping of their fingers and the swaying of their hips have nothing to do with their ability to lead and carry out tasks, including military tasks.

However, the process of acceptance and recognition of the rights of the non-straight members has not been easy. Aside from the unequal development of members in the movement, the influence of the bourgeois culture and society that looks down and discriminates on lesbians, gays, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) is strong. Persistently combating this depraved influence is imperative.

Ka Duday, one of the members of the PBB’s medical staff, disclosed how uneasy he was at the start. He did not know how he would place himself. “I can’t take a bath with the men because it will violate the rules. I can’t join the women because they might think I am taking advantage of them. Then somebody remarked that gays have no place in the revolution. Severely offended, I got demoralized. I left the movement. But at home there was nothing I could do but cry. After a few months, I sent word I will return and assess with them.”

Ka Duday believed that combating the debased culture of this bourgeois society we were born into and initiating change would fruition from the collective struggle of the gays, lesbians and straights in the national democratic revolution. Party documents are available to enlighten gays and lesbians that they are not divorced from the oppression and exploitation suffered by other genders. Thus, it is important that they take an active role in the people’s revolution.

“But we cannot send the message and convince them of the exigency for revolution if we ourselves are undisciplined,” Ka Duday said.

Meanwhile, Ka Riko shared their experience during an encounter with the military in 2000 where they were put in the defensive. They had a difficult time withdrawing from the enemy. The military was advancing fast. Then, one of their comrades, a gay, positioned himself away from the NPA main unit and fired at the military to divert their attention. This diversionary tactic enabled the NPA unit to maneuver and withdraw. “Proud!” Ka Riko exclaimed.

That incident served as a turning point of the way gays in their unit were treated. They made fun of them still but this time, with fondness unlike before when they felt people were avoiding them. With pride Ka Riko remarked, “Gays in the movement are awesome-brave and real fighter.

They fondly remembered Wendel Gumban-Weng to his family, Wanda to his friends and comrades in the city and Ka Waquin to red fighters of the PBB and the Lumad-was martyred. A graduate of Tourism from the University of the Philippines, Wendel set aside personal ambitions to serve the masses and the revolution.

“Apart from his being a gay warrior, Ka Waquin’s dedication to the service of the people is an undying inspiration, not only to us, gays, but also to many comrades and the masses. He has proven that being gay is no hindrance to fire a gun, especially if it is for national liberation,” Ka Duday professed.

Getting out of the closet

Aside from confronting the enemy, they know there is also a need to courageously confront internal contradictions. Getting out of the closet would invite being belittled, ridiculed and loathed.

“Since high school I already knew I was gay but I hid it from my family. I mingled with the NPA but I had no plan to join them. I merely assisted them when able. If you came from a family of peasants you would always yearn to uplift your family from their deprivation. Thus, I worked as a security guard in the city. However, I could not stand the exploitative situation that security guards are in. It is a worthless sacrifice. I left my job and contacted my friend in the NPA to express my desire to join them,” Ka Princess related.

“For more than a year, I concealed my real self from our group. But it bothered me no end so I opened up to Ka Bob, a member of the higher committee. I requested him to discuss it with the committee. I did not know how they would react but it was the least of my worry. The important thing was I got “out” and felt relieved,” Princess added.

Princess expected derision from his comrades and the masses after they learned the truth. But that did not happen. In fact, some of them were in disbelief.

“If you really want to hide your real identity you will do everything to avoid suspicion,” Ka Princess explained.

In one of the anniversary celebrations of the CPP, Princess invited his family. It was there he admitted to them his sexual preference. At first they were shocked, but after explaining himself to them they heartily accepted him as he was.

Ka Princess felt liberated after that confession, as if a big thorn was taken out of his throat. He joined the NPA as Ka Marco, now she is Ka Princess, a political guide of a platoon.

For Ka Awra, being Moro and gay is a double burden.

“I used to envy my friends in the city because many of them, both men and women, were proficient with the gay lingo. I got the impression they very much welcomed gays. I learned later they already suspected me to be one, because I was demure and gentle. But they never asked me about it nor made me admit it. In 2005, I was invited to a launch of the organization of gays and lesbians. I was wondering why I was invited. During the self-introduction, one had to state his/her name and his/her gender-gay, lesbian or bi-sexual. When it was my turn to speak-there, I came out and my “career” as Awra Alindogan was unexpectedly launched. Bongga! (great!),” Ka Awra, an education officer, marveled at the reminiscence.

Ka Awra discovered after the revelation that there are much more he can do and contribute to the revolution-he can write, he can dance, he can strut his cultural prowess to spice up his organizing and instruction work. He had opened up to his comrades and the masses. He realized that the masses will accept and love you whatever your gender is for as long as you could help them with their problems; they see you at the people’s court resolving issues; they are enlightened and they learn from your instruction, be of the Party courses or simply to read and write. For as long as you are with them in charting plans and programs that will serve their interests, they will wholeheartedly accept you.

Ingenious Gay

“There was that time when our camp was raided and all our belongings were taken away. The masses, learning of the incident, sent me a bagful of things to replace what I lost. The gesture so touched me that I was teary-eyed with joy. I wrote back to thank them. The masses so loved the people’s army. They are always excited to meet and exchange pleasantries with us whenever we are around,” Ka Awra narrated.

Awra expressed her realization that respect is not earned by hiding one’s true self. In the first place, there is no need to hide nor deny one’s preferred gender. If one does his/her job well, has good rapport with everyone, abides by the policies and programs of the revolutionary movement, there would be no complication. This does not apply to gays alone. All the men and women need to carry out their tasks well for the revolution. In this way, they will surely gain the trust and respect of their comrades, as well as the masses.

Once he was assigned to lead a team in a special military operation. He vehemently refused, especially because his long hair will have to be cut. He was crying throughout the time his hair was being cut. “Ayoko na mag-struggle (I no longer want to be part of the struggle),” he said laughing as he recalled the incident.

But at the end he realized he should not prioritize personal desires over his revolutionary tasks. He finally accepted the task and they rehearsed how to carry out the operation. He was to man a checkpoint supposedly of the AFP. During the actual tactical operation, there were “directors” who coached him. They called his attention whenever his voice and action started to soften up. But they let him be himself when there were no other people around. He could sit down with legs crossed. He could fan himself with gusto. But when there were other people and vehicles, he had to return to his “AFP character” and did the ‘role’ successfully,” remarked Ka Awra.

“After the operation, we all felt the fangs of hunger as we packed our things. Seeing a fruit delivery truck approaching, members of my unit requested me to ask for something to eat. Although vexed, compassion took the better of me and I stopped the truck to ask for food. I was already in a sando shirt but, still in fatigue pants. I used my charm. However, those in the truck were still able to identify me with the NPA because they said nobody in the AFP would admit they are gay. We learned later that they came from one of the barangays where we had mass worked before,” Awra continued.

Liberation Movement

The recognition and respect for the rights of gays and lesbians by the CPP is a big stride forward for the gays and lesbians. The movement will continue to gain more insights and lessons as it advances the national democratic revolution. The movement may encounter enormous obstacles on the way but, guided by the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist principles, they will be able to clear the path to victory. The comrades, cadres and masses are there to substantiate, live by and further enrich the lessons learned.

According to Ka Riko, it could not be helped that gays may still encounter problems, especially with comrades who have not fully shaken off the bourgeois culture they grew up in. But this is where the CPP differs from all the other political parties. It recognizes its weaknesses, learns from these and rectifies, so thus its members.

“The revolution does not discriminate on gender. The gun has no gender. The aspiration to serve the masses and win the revolution to institute real societal change binds us all-men, women, gays, lesbians,” Ka Princess added.
“It is only proper for all gays and lesbians to join the revolutionary movement. It is only through armed revolution that we can promote and build a society which beauty is not only at the surface but also emanates from the core of complete freedom,” Ka Duday concluded.

More than the recognition of their rights, the Party has equipped the gays and lesbians with MLM theory and practice to enable them to liberate not only their sector, but also all the oppressed classes. They are equipped to enable them to smash the conventional belief that the gender they have chosen is only for beauty salons and that their talents are only for entertainment. They are equipped to be able to join and lay down the foundation of a society that is free from the fetters of exploitation and discrimination.###

 

#Pride2018
#RevolutionariesNotTerrorists
#ServeThePeople

THIS WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN FILIPINO

Artwork by Parts Bagani

Ang Kasarian ng Digmang Bayan

in Mainstream
ni Markus del Pilar

 

“Siguro, aabot sa halos isang kumpanya kung pagsasama-samahin kami. Kaso hindi pwede! Kita mo naman kanina sa laro namin ng volleyball, ‘no? Maiingay kami!” nagtatawanang pagbibida nila.

Napakadalang ng pagkakataong nagkakasama-sama sila. Ang ilan sa kanila ay ngayon lang nagkita at nagkakilala. Magkakahiwalay kasi sila ng larangang kinikilusan at gaya nga ng sabi nila, hindi sila pwedeng pagsama-samahin… hindi dahil sa “maiingay sila” kundi mas doon sila kailangan sa mga eryang pinagtalagahan sa kanila.

Sila ay mga hukbo ng Pulang Bagani Battalion. Rebolusyonaryo. Bayot.

Tinagurian ng mga masa sa baryo na “grand production sa mga bayot” ang nagdaang selebrasyon sa Davao City ng ika-48 anibersaryo ng Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas. Mga bayot na hukbo ang nagdirehe, nag-ayos ng programa, nagturo ng sayaw, nagdisenyo ng entablado, ang ilan ay kasama pa sa mismong pagtatanghal. Tuwang-tuwa ang mga masa habang pinapanood ang kanilang pag-eensayo at paghahanda.

“Buti naman at pinayagan nang sumapi sa NPA ang mga bayot,” sabi pa ng isang masa.

 

Hindi nagsasara ng pinto ang Partido sa pagsapi ng mga bakla, lesbyan, bisekswal o transgender. Anuman ang piniling kasarian, maaaring sumapi sa Partido ang sinumang handang yumakap at magtaguyod ng Marxismo-Leninismo-Maoismo at saligang batas ng Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas. May katulad na patakaran ang Bagong Hukbong Bayan na kumikilala sa karapatan ng mga Pulang mandirigma sa pagpili ng kasarian.
#PrideMonth #JointheNPA
Mula sa PRWC Info

Pagbaka sa Diskriminasyon

“May mga kwento ang mga ‘ninunong bakla’, mga ‘anitong bading’ sa lunsod noon na tinitingnang kahinaan ng ilang kasama ang pagiging bakla nila. Sasabihan pa raw sila noon na bakit tikwas nang tikwas ang mga daliri nila, kembot nang kembot sa rali. Umabot pa sa puntong itinuring na banta sa seguridad ang kabaklaan nila. Pero pinatunayan nilang walang kinalaman ang pagtikwas at pagkembot nila sa kakayanan nilang mamuno at gumampan kahit pa gawaing militar,” kwento ni Ka Riko, choreographer.

Itinulak ng lumalaking bilang ng mga bakla at lesbyanang kasapi ng Partido ang pangangailangang magkaroon ng dokumentong gagabay sa wastong pakikitungo sa mga kasaping may piniling kasarian. Inasahang makapagpapahupa ito sa diskriminasyong nararanasan nila mula sa iba pang kasapi.

Isa na rito ang On Proletarian Relationship of the Sexes (OPRS)–gabay na dokumento ng Partido sa pakikipagrelasyon at pag-aasawa. Noong 1998, idinagdag ng Ika-10 Plenum ng Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas ang Annex E na nagsasaad sa pantay na karapatan ng mga kasaping may piniling kasarian at pagkilala sa kanilang kagustuhang makipagrelasyon at makapag-asawa.

Subalit hindi magiging madali ang proseso ng pagpapatanggap sa ibang kasapi dahil na rin sa iba’t ibang antas ng pag-unlad ng mga kasama. Bukod pa rito ang nananatiling hibo ng burges na lipunan at kulturang kinamulatan na kinakailangan ng tuloy-tuloy na pagbaka.

Kwento pa ni Ka Duday, isa sa mga medic ng Pulang Bagani Battalion, “Naramdaman ko noon na hindi ko alam kung paano ilulugar ang sarili ko. Hindi ako pwedeng sumabay sa mga lalaki sa paliligo kasi paglabag daw sa palisiya. Hindi rin pwedeng sumabay sa mga babae dahil pagsasamantala raw iyon. Nasabihan din ako ng isang kasama na ‘walang lugar sa rebolusyon ang mga bakla’. Galit na galit ako noon. Bumaba ang morale kaya nagdesisyon akong bumaba na lang. Pag-uwi ko, wala rin naman akong nagawa. Iyak lang ako nang iyak. Matapos ng ilang buwan, nagsabi akong babalik ako para makipag-assess.”

“Tingin ko, iyong pagbaka at pagbabago sa nakagisnang kultura sa burges na lipunan, magmumula kapwa sa mga bakla at lesbyana at mga straight. May mga dokumento namang pwedeng gumabay sa pag-aaral para ipaunawang hindi hiwalay ang mga bakla at lesbyana sa nararanasang pagsasamantala, na kabahagi ng rebolusyon ang mga bakla at lesbyana. Pero paano namin maipapaabot ang mensahe at aral kung kami mismo ay lumalabag sa mga disiplina.” dagdag ni Ka Duday.

“Turning point siguro, kung partikular sa karanasan ng SMR, noong late 2000. Napadepensiba ang isang yunit ng NPA at nahirapang mag-withdraw sa erya. Palapit na noon ang mga militar. Isang bading na NPA ang humarap sa kanila para matulungang makapagmaniobra ang mga kasamang naipit,” pagpapatuloy ni Ka Riko. Proud!

Malaki ang naging epekto ng insidenteng ito para bigyang pansin ang “tamang pakikitungo sa mga kasamang bading”. “Mararamdaman mong may cat-calling pa rin pero hindi na kagaya noon na halatang may pandidiri. Ngayon may halo nang lambing. Bongga kaya ang mga bading sa kilusan, matapang! Palaban!” sabi pa ni Ka Riko.

Halos isang taon na rin ang lumipas nang mamartir sa isang labanan si Wendell Gumban — o si Weng sa kanyang pamilya, o si Wanda sa mga kaibigan at kasama sa urban, o si Ka Waquin sa mga mandirigma ng Pulang Bagani Battalion at mga Lumad sa bahaging iyon ng Mindanao. Isang Tourism graduate mula sa Unibersidad ng Pilipinas na tinalikuran ang mga pansariling pangarap para magsilbi at mag-alay sa tagumpay ng rebolusyon.

“Labas sa pagiging baklang NPA ni Ka Waquin, ang kanyang dedikasyon sa paglilingkod sa sambayanan ang nagsisilbing inspirasyon, hindi lang sa mga kagaya naming bayot kundi sa maraming kasama at masa. Pinatunayan niyang hindi dahilan ang pagiging bayot para hindi mo makalabit ang gatilyo lalo na kung para sa pagpapalaya ng bayan,” pagmamalaki ni Ka Duday.

 

Paglaladlad

Bukod sa pagharap sa kaaway, kinailangan din ng ilan sa kanila na buong tapang na harapin ang internal na tunggalian sa sarili. Batid nilang kaakibat ng paglaladlad ang pangungutya, pangmamaliit, at pandidiri.

“Hayskul pa lang ako, alam ko nang bayot ako. Pero pilit ko ‘yong tinago sa pamilya ko. Nakakasalamuha ko na rin ang mga hukbo noon pero hindi ko binalak na maging NPA. Tumutulong-tulong lang ako noon sa kanila. Kapag galing ka sa magsasakang pamilya, gugustuhin mo ring iahon sila sa hirap. Nagtrabaho akong security guard sa syudad. Pero hindi rin ako nakatagal nang maranasan ko ang sobrang pahirap na ginawa sa amin ng mga katrabaho ko. Kinontak ko agad ang kaibigan kong NPA, sabi ko magpu-fulltime na ako.” paglalahad ni Ka Princess.

“Isang taon mahigit kong itinago ang pagkatao ko sa mga kasama. Naging bagahe ko na. Kaya isang araw, kinausap ko si Ka Bob, political instructor namin. Sabi ko sa kanya, ‘Bob, basin di ka mutuo sa akong ingnon ba, basin ma-schock ka kung unsa katinuod akong ingon. Giingnan gyud nako sya na tinuod gyud na babae gyud ko. Ikaw na magpaabot sa han-ay sa komite nga maistoryahan ninyo na. Kay basta importante, nakapaabot ko ana. (Bob, baka hindi ka maniwala sa sasabihin ko, baka ma-schock ka kung gaano sa katotohanan. Sinabihan ko siyang babae talaga ako. Ikaw ang magsabi sa komite at pag-usapan niyo. Ang importante nasabi ko na.”

“Inimbitahan ko rin ang pamilya ko na dumalo sa selebrayon ng ika-48 na anibersaryo ng PKP. Doon ko ipinagtapat sa kanilang bayot ako. Nagulat sila noong una, pero natuwa rin naman nang ipaliwanag ko sa kanila ang nararamdaman ko,”

“Inasahan ko nang kakantyawan ako ng mga kasama kapag nagsabi na ako ng totoo. Pero iba ang naging reaksyon nila. Ang mga masa at ilang kasama, ayaw pang maniwala noong nagtapat ako ng identidad ko. Sabi nila, lalaki naman daw ako pumorma, magsalita, kumilos. Sabi ko, kapag pilit mong itinatago ang pagiging bayot mo, lahat gagawin mo para hindi ka paghinalaan.”

“Napakagaan sa pakiramdam pagkatapos kong magsabi sa kanila. Para akong nabunutan ng tinik sa lalamunan,” pagsasalaysay ni dating Ka Marco na ngayo’y Ka Princess na, giyang pampulitika ng isang platun.

Uphold the right of the LGBT to express gender identity and support their struggle against all forms of discrimination. – Program for a People’s Democratic Revolution as approved by the 2nd Congress of the Communist Party of the Philippines
READ RELATED ARTICLE
Mula sa PRWC Info

Nakadagdag naman sa bagaheng dalahin ni Ka Awra ang pagiging Moro niya.

“Bumilib ako sa mga kasama ko noon sa urban. Maraming kasama, babae tsaka lalaki, na magaling mag-gay lingo. So, pakiramdam ko tanggap na tanggap nila ang mga bakla. Pinagdududahan na rin pala nila akong bakla noon kasi lalamya-lamya ako. Hindi naman nila ako pinipilit paaminin. Tapos noong 2005, pinapunta nila ako sa launching ng organisasyon para sa mga bakla at lesbyana. Nagtataka na ako noon bakit pinapunta nila ako doon. Tapos n’ong pakilanlanan na, sasabihin mo ang pangalan mo… tsaka kung bakla ka ba, lesbyana, silahis. Ayon, na-launch pati ang career ko bilang Awra Alindogan! O, di ba bongga!” natatawang pagbabalik-tanaw ni Ka Awra, instruktor sa pag-aaral.

“Nadiskubre kong marami pa pala akong pwedeng gawin pagkatapos kong mag-out. Marunong pala akong magsulat, sumayaw. Mas naging bukas na rin ako sa mga kasama at masa. Mamahalin ka ng masa lalo na kung tinutulungan mo sila sa kanilang mga problema, makikita nilang kasama ka sa hukumang bayan sa pagresolba ng mga suliranin. Nakikinig sila kapag nagbibigay ka ng pag-aaral, kurso man ng Partido o simpleng pagbasa at pagsulat. Kung kasama ka sa pagdedesenyo ng programa at pagpapatupad nito, buong-buo kang tatanggapin ng masa kahit pa anong kasarian mo.”

 

De Kalibreng Bayot

“Minsan, na-raid ang kampo namin. Nasamsam lahat ng gamit at damit ko. Pinadalhan nila ako ng isang supot ng mga pampalit sa mga nawala kong gamit. ‘Kay Awra’ ang nakalagay sa supot. Mangiyak-ngiyak ako noon sa sobrang saya. Sinulatan ko sila pabalik para magpasalamat. Excited lagi sila makakwentuhan ang mga hukbo kapag nalaman nilang malapit lang kami sa kanila.”

“Ang respeto kasi hindi naman makukuha ‘yan sa pagtatago ng identidad mo. Unang-una, hindi naman kailangang itago ang pagiging bakla. Kung mahusay mong nagagampanan ang tungkulin mo, marunong kang makisama, tumatalima sa mga programa’t palisiya, wala kang magiging problema. Pangalawa, hindi lang ito para sa mga bayot, kahit babae o lalaki, na magpakahusay sa paggampan ng mga gawain. Sa ganoong paraan namin nakukuha ang tiwala at respeto ng mga kasama at masa.”

“Minsan naatasan akong mag-team leader sa isang special operation. Ayaw na ayaw kong pumayag. Ang haba na ng buhok ko noon pero kailangan daw gupitan. Iyak ako nang iyak habang ginugupit nila ang buhok ko. Sabi ko pa, ‘Ayaw ko nang mag-struggle,’ with matching iyak-iyak,” natatawang kwento ni Ka Awra.

“Pero sa bandang huli, naisip ko rin na uunahin ko ba ang pansariling kaligayahan kumpara sa gawaing ibinigay. Pumayag na ako. Tapos nagpraktis na kami paano ilulunsad ang operasyon. Sa aktwal na, nakabantay ang mga “direktor” ko. Tinatawag ako pag tingin nila lumalambot ang pagsasalita at kilos ko. Pero hinahayaan naman nila akong maging ako kapag walang ibang tao. Nakakapagdekwatro na ako at nakakapag-abaniko kapag kami-kami lang. Babalik lang sa karakter kapag may ibang tao at sasakyan.”

“Pagkatapos ng operasyon, pinapa-pack up ko na ang mga kasama kaso nireklamuhan akong gutom na raw sila. Baka raw pwede kong pakiusapan ‘yong paparating na trak ng prutas. Last na raw. Syempre naimbyerna na ‘ko, pero sige na lang. Naawa rin naman ako sa kanila. Pinara ko ‘yong trak, nakasando na lang ako, tsaka ginamitan ko na ng aking charm. Nakilala naman kaagad nilang mga NPA kami kasi bakla ako. Wala naman kasing nagpapakilalang baklang sundalo ng AFP. Nagpakilala pa ang driver na masa raw namin siya, taga roon daw siya sa isang barangay na kinikilusan namin,” masayang pagkukwento ni Ka Awra.

 

Kilusang Mapagpalaya

Itinuturing na malaking pasulong na hakbang ang paggalang at pagkilala ng Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas sa karapatan ng mga bakla at lesbyana. Totoong maraming aral pa ang mapupulot nito sa patuloy nitong pagsusulong ng pambansa demokratikong rebolusyon. Marami pang lubak na susuungin ang kilusan subalit nariyan ang Marxismo-Leninismo-Maoismo para gabayan ang landas tungong tagumpay. Nariyan ang mga kasama, kadre, at masa para palamnan, isabuhay, at lalo pang paunlarin ang mapupulot na aral.

“Hindi maiiwasan na magkaroon pa rin ng problema ang mga bayot lalo na sa mga kasamang hindi pa ganap na naiwawaksi ang kulturang kinamulatan sa burges na lipunan. Pero ito ang kaibahan ng PKP sa lahat ng pampulitikang partido, kinikikilala nito ang mga kahinaan at natututong magwasto mula rito,” saad ni Ka Riko.

“Walang pinipiling kasarian ang rebolusyon. Walang kasarian ang baril. Ang paglilingkod sa masa at ang pagtatagumpay sa ganap na pagbabago ng lipunan ang magbibigkis sa atin, lalaki man o babae, bakla man o lesbyana,” dagdag ni Ka Princess.

“Nararapat lang na sumapi sa kilusan ang lahat ng bayot at lesbyana. Sa armadong pakikibaka natin maitataguyod ang lipunang hindi lang panlabas ang ganda kundi gandang magmumula sa kaibuturan ng ganap na paglaya,” pagtatapos ni Ka Duday.

Higit sa pagkilala ng Partido sa kanilang karapatan, ibinigay rin sa kanila ng rebolusyon ang armas na siyang gagamitin nila para palayain, hindi lamang ang kanilang sektor, kundi ang lahat ng inaaping uri; na siyang gagamitin nila para basagin ang lahat ng kumbensyon na ang kanilang piniling kasarian ay hindi lamang pang-parlor at panlibangan lang ang kanilang kakayahan; na siyang gagamitin nila para ilatag ang isang lipunang malaya sa lahat ng uri ng pagsasamantala at diskriminasyon.###

Theatre of War, Theatre of the Masses

in Arts & Literature
by Iliya Makalipay

The speeches, songs, dances, music and poetry were woven like red and gold thread through the fabric of the 48 years of the people’s war.  They were almost seamless. The crowd alternately sighed, sobbed and chanted slogans as the cultural program progressed in the fully-packed gym, on the streets and on every empty space around.

“This is a ‘tactical offensive’,” was the slogan of the cultural workers who were tasked to prepare and perform for the 48th anniversary celebration of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in the Southern Mindanao region. ‘Tactical offensive’ or TO involves strength and flexibility, harmony and coordination, timing and rhythm. These are all within the discipline of the people’s army. These, too, are the same elements required of the cultural workers and artists involved in the cultural program for the Party’s big day.

 

Strength and flexibility

Assigned to prepare the anniversary program was a core staff of cultural workers who are now fighters from various units of the New People’s Army (NPA) in the region. The first task was to assemble the cast and crew.  With a month to implement their concept, the most accessible to them were the NPA medics who had earlier gathered for a regional medical training and later, medical missions to the villages. While a number of medics had a background in cultural work, the majority were new to the terrain of the stage. “That’s part of the NPA’s flexibility. You undergo medical training and you practice it through cultural performances,” said the director, Ka Alwin, in jest.

But, three weeks before the event, adjustments had to be made when the regional celebration became the centerpiece of the nationwide commemoration. With delegations from all over the country, the number of those attending the activity had tripled. The initial 20 performers would be dwarfed by the crowd’s number, the staff thought. Thus, they spared no effort to comb for performers in every NPA unit and artists’ organizations in the city and in the villages. In no time, they assembled 77 performers, 43 dancers/movers and 34 singers.

Members of the local Kabataang Makabayan (KM, Patriotic Youth) were mobilized. Other NPA members whom the core staff knew as singers and performers were pulled out of their units. City-based members of ARMAS (Artists and Writers of the People) and allies backed up the countryside (CS)-based cultural workers.

They also adjusted the stage design according to the available budget, materials and manpower. “We wanted fresh flowers for the hammer and sickle logo of the CPP. But we ended up with gold glitters and anahaw (palm) leaves,” Ka Led said in between laughs. “We had to make use of everything available in our surrounding and only bought the essentials, like the pieces of cloth.” But there was, on the day itself, a giant LED screen posted outside the gym to ensure nobody misses out anything that was happening on the stage.

 

Harmony and coordination

The rehearsals for the program, including five major production numbers, started on December 8, two weeks before the event. Aware of a tight schedule and a host of related tasks before them, the core staff emphasized the importance of collective work—something they are all used to. To hasten learning in between rehearsals, the performers were divided into teams where those who learned the choreography or voicing faster took care of those who needed help.

Urban-based artists, however, had to cope with the level of skills of their performers, rehearsal time, and style and methods of work.

The choirmaster who lives in the city, for example, had to ask her children to alternately train the CS-based choir on days she was not available. At times, Ka Tien, the political officer of the Pulang Bagani Brigade (PBB) of the NPA had to be dragged from his other tasks when no guitarist was available to accompany the choir’s practice.

A city-based choreographer had to adjust her original design and tailor her choreography to the movers who came mostly from the peasantry. “Their class origin defines the body movements they are familiar with. The choreography should fit their ways being sons and daughters of the peasantry and fighters in the people’s army.”

All through the gruelling two-week rehearsals, Ka Alwin and the other core staff members made sure the difference between the urban and CS-based cultural workers in terms of skills and content would not be manifested. “We have to achieve unison and break this idea that the urban-based are better in skills and the CS-based are better in content.” Expectedly, there were misunderstandings but, to safeguard the group’s cohesiveness, they practiced ‘Criticism and Self-Criticism’ (CSC), a Party principle of correcting wrong attitudes and style and methods of work. “No one shines individually, this is a collective endeavor,” said Ka Alwin.

 

Timing and rhythm

As D-day neared, most of the performers already had evident bruises and cuts from moving about on the rough wooden planks of the stage. Some of the choir members had lost their voices. But they all agreed to do their best even when their voices and movements falter.

And shine they did on the day the revolutionary movement honored the founding of the Communist Party of the Philippines. Collectively, the movers and the choir performed as one and moved to the beat of the heart of the masses. Their voices and movements became the movement of the revolution, the masses, the people’s army and the Party.

The masses sang with the choir. They groaned as movers mirrored the hunger that preceded the Kidapawan massacre. They booed the “military” when it appeared onstage and rooted for the people’s army. They cheered when they saw “Uncle Sam” impaled on a bamboo pole. They hailed when finally, a golden cloth was rolled out and bared the hammer and sickle emblem of the Party.

Like in any tactical offensive, the performers got their energy from the masses. The cultural presentations ceased to be performances and became the lives of the masses. The masses saw their hunger, oppression and poverty and how the Party and the NPA empowered them and showed their collective strength.

Like in any other tactical offensive, the Party and the people’s army came out victorious and shared the triumph with the masses. It reached the masses, touched their emotions and sensibilities, and fired up their vim and vigor.

Postscript

The crowd cheered and appreciated the performances—and the performers, specially— during the 48th anniversary celebration of the Party.  With delight, the masses in Brgy. Lumiad mentioned that the cultural program was a “grand production sa mga bayot (gays).” To a large extent it was! The core staff and crew, director and choreographers—and more than half of the performers—were gays who have been welcomed into the ranks of the NPA.

 

Beloved Warrior of the Masses

in Mainstream
by Pat Gambao

In life and in death, he remained an unfading inspiration to the entire revolutionary forces and the masses. His selfless commitment to serve the exploited and oppressed, his unflinching sacrifices and his relentless perseverance and valor bespeak of the communist spirit.  His significant contributions to the revolutionary movement and the people’s democratic revolution for national liberation and social transformation are etched in the hearts and minds of every fighter, every man and woman, every child in the areas where he left his imprint.

Commander Ka Parago had lived with the masses for decades, zealously serving them, protecting them and helping them with their problems. He loved the masses so much and he in turn was dearly loved by them.  For these, he has been revered.  Even children who barely had a glimpse of him when he was alive fondly call him tatay (father) to these days.

Leoncio “Commander Parago” Pitao joined the New People’s Army in 1978.  His mastery of the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist (MLM) principles was manifested in the excellence of his practice.  He held on to the correct political line as he built organs of political power and mass organizations. He led the pursuit for land reform while advancing the struggle.  He also developed close ties with the masses—the peasants, workers and indigenous people, as well as built relations with allies.  A brilliant strategist and tactician in guerrilla warfare, he led the First Pulang Bagani Company in the Southern Mindanao Region to many victorious offensives against the reactionary government’s military forces. Commander Parago was the most famous NPA commander of his time. The local reactionary forces dreaded and hated him.

Commander Parago was captured by enemy forces in 1999 but was released on recognizance in 2001, a confidence and goodwill measure for the resumption of the peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).  Upon release, he went back to the countryside to continue with the struggle.

But the enemies never stopped to wreak vengeance on Ka Parago.  They abducted his daughter, Rebelyn, and ruthlessly killed her.  That great blow in his life almost broke him down.  For three days, the tough commander locked up himself in his shack, crying, not wanting to talk to anyone, refusing to take in any food, not so much from grief but from rage.  No one among his comrades dared to disturb him. So they turned to those they knew Ka Parago could not refuse—the masses in the community who became close to him. And it was them who convinced him to eat, calmed him down and brought him back to his senses; the masses he loved so much.  He had lived his life for them since his awakening to the wretchedness of their plight; for them he had pledged to die fighting.

For some time, Ka Parago had been sick with diabetes, hyperthyroidism, hepatitis and hypertension.  His comrades advised him to take a leave for medical treatment and rest outside the area of his command but he opted to stay and live with the masses.

On June 28, 2015, an enemy team raided Purok 9 of Barangay Panalum in the Paquibato District of Davao City where Parago was undergoing medical treatment. He was with NPA medic Vanessa Limpag, Ka Kyle.  The enemy immediately riddled Commander Parago with bullets upon sight of him.  Vanessa, who had raised her hand and made known she was a medic was also gunned down.  Ka Leoncio Pitao passed away at 57.

In contrast to the lenient and humane treatment that Commander Parago and his unit rendered to captured enemies and prisoners of war, he was summarily killed in stark violation of International Humanitarian Law (or the laws of war).

For some time, his men who had always hung on to his shoulders were disheartened and, like the enemy, entertained the thought that the revolution in that part of Mindanao would crumble.  But then, the legacy he had left behind—the education and training of so many revolutionaries who will carry and pass on the torch till victory of the Philippine revolution, the burning desire he sowed in the hearts of the masses to be freed from the bondage of exploitation and oppression, the life he lived, the communist virtues in his being—fired the revolution to even greater heights, delivering fatal blows to the enemies.

It was harvest time for the seeds that Commander Parago had sowed. The First Pulang Bagani Company has since become a full battalion.  His successors have become more determined to advance the revolution to victory. The grief for the loss of the beloved comrade and valiant hero has turned to revolutionary courage as a lasting tribute to his cherished memory.

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