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Ka Pidyong’s Revolutionary Journey

in Mainstream

The 75-year old Ka Pidyong couldn’t contain his laughter as he recalled the first time he met members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in their community, an upland barrio in Northern Luzon. He was among the first batch of peasant men and women who welcomed comrades from the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the NPA in 1971, when the twin revolutionary organizations were in the formative stage.

“There were seven of them,” he said in Filipino, grinning. “Only one had an armalite rifle, while the others had carbines, a shotgun, and a caliber .38 handgun— all teka-teka guns (teka literally means “wait” and refers to low-caliber guns). Of the last member of the team, he remembered vividly, “He had no gun, only a kaldero (a metal pot used to cook rice).”

“Three years later, they were already 16 and fully armed,” Ka Pidyong mused. “We were so happy. Our morale was high because 12 of them were recruited from our village.” Some of the original members had been redeployed elsewhere, he remarked enthusiastically, “They continued to grow, so did we.”

Decades after that first contact with the people’s army, the villagers have now established, painstakingly, their own organs of political power: the revolutionary mass organizations of peasants, women, and youth. A revolutionary council has also been elected and now governs their communities. In 2017, members of the mass organizations—representing the unity forged by the CPP, the NPA, and their allies—held their second elections in less than five years.

Setting the Revolutionary Fire

Not long after the first meeting with the NPA, community leaders teamed up with the NPA to go to different mountain villages and those near the town center. They held meetings, education sessions, and explained to the masses the ills of our society and the proposed long-term solution to their situation.

“What truly got me to realize was the fact that the Philippines is a rich country, yet only the foreigners and the local ruling elite benefit from these riches,” Ka Pidyong said.

The education session was followed by many more until, “ang dami ko nang alam (I learned so much)” Ka Pidyong continued, beaming.

The peasants in this guerrilla zone are mostly landless, some tilling a hectare or two. The communities are nestled in a public land, where any moneyed individual can claim ownership over parts or all of it in blatant disregard of existing laws. All too often, the peasants had been victims of traders who preyed on them by selling farm inputs and implements that were overpriced and buying their farm produce at dirt-cheap prices. The government, too, attempted several times to evict the peasants and give way to so-called development projects, but did not succeed.

The series of education sessions was later followed by the establishment of a local chapter of the Pambansang Katipunan ng mga Magsasaka (PKM, National Association of Peasants), one of the founding affiliate organizations of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). The establishment of the Makibaka (Makabayang Kilusan ng Bagong Kababaihan) followed after a few years.

As the organizations expanded, Ka Pidyong and other comrades, also thought of ways to tackle their revolutionary tasks more effectively, such as: how to give education to those who are not literate; how to maintain communal farms, form a militia unit in the barrios for their security, and how to efficiently support the various needs of the NPA— the latter task they took to heart most fervently. The welfare of the NPA fighters has always been at the forefront of the masses’ concerns. Even in times of calamities, when there was hardly anything to eat, the masses saw to it that there was food for the Red fighters.

Makibaka members took the lead in taking care of the children of fulltime cadres and Red fighters. They looked after their schooling and overall welfare. The women likewise started the health and sanitation programs, which include production of herbal medicine. The youth were organized under the Huwarang Bata (Model Youth), which initiated sports programs, among others. In those years, when members of the NPA came back from tactical offensives, the youth would welcome them with revolutionary songs.

It has been a long, arduous, but victorious journey for those who blazed the revolutionary trail in this guerrilla zone.

Tempered by Struggle

Leaders of the PKM identified two most trying moments they had experienced in their almost 50 years in struggle: the Party’s disorientation in the late 1980’s until the early 1990’s and the intense militarization during the same period.
But they held the fort, they said, never losing track of the revolution’s onward march, much more the will to push it to victory. Even in those difficult times, when the enemy surrounded them, in their hearts and in their minds they knew where they stand—to serve the Party and the masses.

In fact, while the AFP encamped at the barrio for 14 years, several organizing groups and revolutionary mass organizations were established in the communities surrounding the barrio.

“No one was ever recruited into the AFP’s paramilitary unit. There were a few who almost agreed to be recruited but we persuaded them to back out,” said Ka Pidyong with a chuckle. Ka Pidyong was arrested by the military but, after his release, went into hiding several times after because of the continuing threats of re-arrest.

At the time, the NPA stayed away from the barrio center since their presence would cause unnecessary confrontation with the government forces that would affect the unarmed civilians.

But such restraint was no longer exercised during the Party’s disorientation. The situation then turned intense, pitiful for the masses who had to bring supplies, food into the remote mountainous areas where the NPA retreated after launching tactical offensives. This was the period when military adventurism seeped into the NPA ranks and mass work and agrarian reform tasks took a back seat to tactical offensives that were launched one after another.

Ka Pidyong was among those in the barrio who disapproved the swing to military adventurism, saying it was not time to show off the NPA’s military strength in their guerrilla zone. His memory of how the NPA had shifted its focus and the change in its attitude towards the masses was still fresh. “Yung mga kasama noon wala na, kapag pinupuna ayaw na (At that time the comrades didn’t want to accept criticisms).”

Sadly, Ka Pidyong was among those who were suspected as military agents within the movement during the anti-infiltration campaign. Although he had ill feelings then, now he shrugs off the whole experience. During the rectification period, the Party and NPA cadres and red fighters humbly criticized themselves before the masses and members of the revolutionary organizations as they explained to them the rectification process.

The elders in the community did not mince words in criticizing the Party and NPA members, which the latter wholeheartedly accepted. What is important is the rectification of the errors, which led to growth and strengthening of the Party, the people’s army and the mass organizations.

One with the Party and the People’s Army

A good number of the revolution’s trailblazers are now in their 70s, their faces lined with wrinkles and the hair on their heads turning grey or white and thinning. Still they stay in high revolutionary spirit. They have been in the movement for at least 47 years. Some of them were just about 12 years old when introduced to the movement.

“I am satisfied. Despite my age and ailment, I am still able to help in whatever way I can,” Ka Pidyong remarked. He quickly added, “And, I’m energized to see young people, from our place, from other places, from the cities who come here and stay with us.”

“If the end of our struggle is still far away, where we started from is now much farther away. Let’s continue fighting,” he added.

It took several probing questions from Liberation on how these trailblazers felt about being the bearers of revolutionary power in their communities before they could answer. There was initial silence, a long silence. Tears welled in the eyes of some of them. Clearing his throat, Ka Pidyong spoke up first. He firmly declared, “Without the Party and the NPA, we have nothing.” ###

#PeasantMonth
#ServeThePeople
#JoinTheNPA

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The Trail to Victory

in Mainstream

A month before the celebration of the 50th year founding anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), Ka Krish, the youngest daughter of Ka Lusyo and Ka Remy exchanged vows with a comrade in the New People’s Army (NPA). The wedding, officiated by a senior member of the Party, is partly a fulfillment of Ka Lusyo and Ka Remy’s hopes and dreams.

For Ka Lusyo and Ka Remy, their daughter’s wedding in the Party was a victory as a couple in raising a new generation of revolutionary.

It also sealed their lifetime commitment to the Party. With Ka Krish, the couple are sure that a new generation will pick up the torch they carry, the arms they brandish, and the banner they wave high to further advance the achievements of the Party.

This new generation shall fulfill the dream and enjoy the fruits of a just, humane, and prosperous Philippines.

The Beginning Of Their Trail

In 1975, Ka Lusyo’s barrio in a remote town in Eastern Visayas was militarized and became a “no man’s land”—where the military shot people on sight, for no reason. Villagers had to evacuate and resettle in the forested area. There they met the NPA.

“I was 17 going on 18 when I tagged along with the red fighters doing propaganda and education work until finally I decided to join them fulltime,” Ka Lusyo narrated. After attending a training on step-by-step organizing, his first assignment was to lead a team of three in organizing five barrios.

“Yes, we were armed. But, except for the revolver that I carried, everything else were pugakhang (home-made gun in Waray language),” Ka Lusyo confided. The team usually work at night going from one barrio to another, holding mass meetings, imparting the knowledge it has learned from comrades in the red army. The masses welcomed and appreciated the discussions about their issues and situation. Enlightened, they cherished and regarded the red army with high esteem.
The next time Ka Lusyo reported back to the squad headed by Ka Bakê, he was given a new assignment. He was trained for the medical team. After more than a month of training, Ka Lusyo became the medical officer of the squad. Later, he would become a commander of the NPA.

His first involvement in a tactical offensive was in the simultaneous attacks in two towns. Those were their first victorious battles. It was followed by an ambush in another town.

“It was the first time I was issued an armalite, my first time to get hold of an automatic rifle,” Ka Lusyo elatedly related.

After that, their unit moved to another town, carrying out ambuscades on the way. In the process, they were able to gather arms from the enemy troops. Their squad then became two to form an undersized platoon. That was in 1979. “That was how we were then, tiklop–buklad (close, open). We split into squads, then merged again into platoon. The attacks on the enemies were frequent and continuous as we proceeded to our destination,” Ka Lusyo narrated.

The red army continued moved around the province—arousing, organizing and mobilizing the masses. In the same vein, tactical offensives were frequent and reverberated all over the province. The Red army was high spirited as if victory was just a leap away.

Love In The Time Of The Revolution

“It was in the North when I met Ka Remy, sometime in 1981. She was a correspondent of our newsletter,” Ka Lusyo began to speak of their love life.

Ka Remy was in Manila when the revolution started in Samar. But, Ka Remy had other plans in mind. Knowing she would not get the nod of her parents, Ka Remy ran away from home to work as household help in the city. That was in 1972.

When the revolution in Samar was gaining ground, her father bade her to come home for fear that they might not see each other again. That was in 1979. She was 19. Meeting a group of enlightened youth in their barrio, she readily joined them. She became a member of the organizing committee in the barrio. But since she was new in the group and needed to be oriented and educated, her tasks at first were confined to making placards for rallies and postering. Later, she realized she needed to do more for the struggling masses and against the onslaught of the fascist rule. After attending courses in the revolutionary movement, she became part of the barrio militia.

“Intelligence work was one of our tasks although I was not so good in it,” Remy admitted.

Her father did not approve of her joining the group. But when a comrade came to talk to him about her going on full time, he consented although tearful. “The next time I visited my father, he told me neither to come home nor see my friends again. He had told everyone I went back to Manila,” she said.

In the people’s army, Ka Remy was trained in all aspects of the hukbo’s work. But when Ka Remy’s group launched a tactical offensive, they did not include her. She was left behind to prepare the meals instead. She resented it. She felt her training was in vain. She felt they did not have confidence in her capability. To rectify, she was later made to join in all the activities of the group.

In 1980, she was transferred to staff work as correspondent for their propaganda work. That was the time she met Ka Lusyo.

Brought together by their work in the movement, Ka Remy and Ka Lusyo’s friendship flourished. Ka Lusyo asked for the permission of both their collectives to court Ka Remy, as practiced in the revolutionary movement. It took months of distance courtship before Ka Lusyo was accepted and two years of distance relationship before they got married.

The distance relationship has suffered the acid test when no letter came from Ka Lusyo for a long time. The relationship almost ended.

“Only when he arrived did I learn he got sick. It could not be denied, he still reeked of medications,” Ka Remy remarked in jest.

The two got married in early 1984 but they stayed together for only three days as Ka Lusyo had to return to his area of responsibility. Meantime, Ka Remy’s assignment also changed—from correspondent she was assigned to do mass work again.

Most of the time, the two performed their revolutionary tasks in separate locations, often away from each other. When Ka Remy was arrested and detained, it took more than a year before the couple met again. Ka Remy could no longer remember Ka Lusyo’s face. It was not surprising because the time they had been together was indeed brief. But this time, upon Ka Remy’s release, they no longer separated.

Together they wove a romance that endured the test of time, difficulties and life-and-death situations. They were together in the raids and ambuscades that were launched.

Their romance blossomed in the midst of the revolution, steadfast as the objective they were fighting for, strong as the determination to overcome all travails and risks, hopeful and faithful that this just war will birth a free, prosperous, and just social system that their children and the generations to come will enjoy.

Ka Remy and Ka Lusyo had four children, the youngest who was born by ceasarian section, died. The children were raised amidst the formidable situation of a war for liberation. When older and weaned from breastfeeding, the children were taken cared of by the masses or some relatives. They came whenever Ka Lusyo and Ka Remy’s unit are encamped, especially when there were celebrations. “LR, my second child, was so dogged and loquacious. He prided introducing himself as my son,” Ka Lusyo was nostalgic.

Surviving The Disorientation

Having attained impressive achievements not only in the armed struggle but also in the agrarian revolution and mass base building, the revolutionary forces in Samar were overwhelmed. Influenced by the disorientation of some cadres in the national leadership, their impetuosity blurred the basic principle of protracted people’s war as they dreamed of quick victory. Regularization of army formation to pursue “strategic counter-offensive” in the 80’s led to the abandonment of mass work and agrarian revolution.

The couple have been very much embroiled in this traumatic nightmare that shook the revolutionary movement. In 1988, the battalion was formed. Ka Lusyo became a third commander in the succession of commanders of the battalion. Ka Lusyo was commander for Alpha. Ka Remy recalled the numerous tactical offensives launched by Alpha.

The battalion was dissolved in 1993, when the Second Great Rectification Movement was launched by the CPP.

Through all these setbacks, Ka Lusyo and Ka Remy remained strong and resolute in their commitment knowing for whom and for what purpose the people’s revolution is all about. They humbly acknowledged the errors of the past and proceeded towards rectification.

The rectification campaign in Eastern Visayas began in 1993. Red fighters and commanders went back to the barrios they left behind, owned up to the errors, and criticized themselves before the masses. The red fighters, commanders, and mass activists returned to the basics—mass work, organizing, propaganda work, and education campaign. Mass organizations, people’s militia and organs of political power were rebuilt. Basic Party organizations were established. Mass struggles and united front work were restored. In 1996, it was said that the rectification campaign in the region has “arrested and reversed the decline of the revolutionary movement.”

Meanwhile, Ka Lusyo and Ka Remy’s offsprings grew up all woke and determined to carry on their parents’ mission. All became full time Red warriors although Gail, the eldest, left the army when she got married.

For Ka Lusyo and Ka Remy, the trail is all set for the total victory of the national democratic revolution to the dawning of the socialist construction in this land.###

#ServeThePeople
#RevolutionaryFamily
#CherishThePeoplesArmy

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KA KARI: Revolution Runs in the Family

in Mainstream
by Iliya Makalipay

It was in 1979 when members of the CPP-NPA reached Ka Kari’s barrio. They often met with his family and discussed with them the aims of the revolution. After a year, Ka Kari and his elder brother decided to go fulltime in the revolutionary movement. After a year of being a staff member of the regional committee, he joined the team that established the first unit of the New People’s Army (NPA) in a district in Eastern Visayas. That was in 1982.

While Ka Kari and his brother Ing-ing were becoming absorbed with their revolutionary work, they had to deal with the opposition from their eldest brother who was against with their involvement in the CPP-NPA. But two years later, in 1984, the elder also joined the NPA.

It was a professor from Cebu who stayed in their house who finally recruited his eldest brother. “But my brother and I never failed to write our family, to tell them about our work as red fighters—organizing the community towards building revolutionary organizations, helping in production work and pursuing agrarian revolution, engaging enemy troops among others,” he explained.

The brothers wanted their family to know that they were not abandoned, that the revolution is the best they could offer them and the people in general. They were persistent, too, in inviting their loved ones to visit them whenever the red fighters were camped.

The nine siblings were deployed in various lines of work and territorial organs within the region. Wherever they were, they looked for family and clan members and kept in touch with them, “to make sure they were informed about the revolution.” The clan members were also tapped for various support work. “Wherever they are, even those residing outside the region, we make sure that comrades get in touch with them.”

As Ka Kari and his brothers and sisters got married, the revolutionary family grew. Sons and daughters were cared for by in-laws who have become part of the movement, too. Having maintained a close relationship with the nephews and nieces, “the children naturally had their own “idols” among us, depending on who they are closest to.”

But it was not easy at first. “The children resented us. They argued and fought us,” said Ka Kari. But like what they did before, Ka Kari and his siblings persistently explained to them the struggle for liberation and democracy. It paid off, he said because now, “Linyado na rin sila. Some are still studying while others are waiting to reach the age of 18.”

Eventually, sons and daughters and nieces and nephews, upon reaching the right age, also became part of the movement, either as red fighters or organizers in the barrios where they lived or in the schools where they studied. “We look for ways to sustain those who wish to continue their studies,” Ka Kari said. “Also, those who have no good reason to join the revolutionary movement were not recruited.” Expectedly, there were also those who lied low and left the guerrilla zone.

Family of martyrs

It has already been 37 fruitful years for Ka Kari in the red army when the CPP celebrated its 50th anniversary. Of the nine siblings, only three are still alive to celebrate the occasion—Ka Kari, Ka Resty and Ka Nonoy. Five of Ka Kari’s siblings had been killed while serving the revolution. One was abducted and has never been surfaced since 2005. All in all, 14 of Ka Kari’s family members have become martyrs of the revolution.

In 1987, Ka Kari’s younger brother Ramil, their sixth, was killed by the military. It was the first death among Ka Kari’s siblings. He was 18 years old. The brother was part of the armed city partisan unit and was tasked to transport a wounded comrade back to the guerrilla zone. He and another comrade were on their way back to the city when soldiers arrested them. His comrade was tortured and chopped to death because he refused to tell where the other comrades were. Ka Kari’s brother was also killed right after, for the same reason.

Ka Kari himself was arrested in 2006 and spent seven years in jail. “Only two of my siblings did not experience imprisonment,” he remarked. But each of those who were jailed would always find their way back to the guerrilla zone.

“Our family has long accepted that death is inevitable. Every death in the family strengthened our resolve to continue. Afterall, those deaths do not invalidate the basis of the struggle, of why are here.”

Family meetings are occasions to process the loss of loved ones. “Waray magulang, waray manghud, waray ranggo (We don’t mind who is the eldest or the youngest, there’s no ranking here),” he jested. A representative from a higher Party organ is usually invited in these meetings. When Ka Kari was released after almost a decade of imprisonment, they held a family meeting. “Our family has grown, the nephews and nieces are now married. Some of them are now also working fulltime in the revolutionary movement. There were already 14 deaths in the family, 14 martyrs. After each member spoke, it was clear that we were all determined to continue, “Fight fear!” is how they ended their meeting.

Raising a revolutionary family

The family of Ka Kari did not simply follow each other’s footsteps. Theirs was a product of a persistent and painstaking work of arousing, organizing and mobilizing the masses for the people’s war. It stemmed from the comrades’ consciousness that their family is among the oppressed and exploited majority and that liberation could only be attained by actively participating in the people’s revolutionary movement.

Ka Kari’s words sum it up: “Ang pamilya kolektib din. Tinitiyak namin na mulat ang mga asawa namin, anak, mga pamangkin para hindi sila malayo sa rebolusyon. Kaming myembro ng pamilya na nasa loob ng hukbo, may tasking kami para abutin ang myembro ng pamilya namin. Kung nagpupukaw ka nga sa masa na ‘di mo kakilala, bakit hindi ang pamilya mo. Hindi mo lang sila kadugo, biktima din sila ng mapang-aping lipunan.”

“Your family is also your collective. We make sure our spouses, children, nephews and nieces are aware of the situation and don’t distance themselves from the revolution.”

Through the years, family members would urge them to come home. To which he would reply, “you come here (to the front). No matter how hard you try, as long as oppression and exploitation exist, you will always be a victim.”

“Kahit mahirap ang buhay sa hukbo, hindi kami kawawa. Ang kawawa ay yung mga inaapi at pinagsasamantalahan pero di lumalaban,” was how Ka Kari described the life in the people’s army.

“Life may be hard in the people’s army, but don’t pity us. Pity those who are exploited but do not fight back.”

Malaya na si Maya

in Mainstream
isinalaysay kay Ester Martires

Dalawang linggo ang ipinaalam niyang “bakasyon” sa mga kakolektibo niya. Kasama na rito ang ilang araw na biyahe papunta at pabalik. Kalkulado ang haba ng oras ng byahe; kung gaano kahaba ang lalakarin lalo’t maulan (at petiburges/laking lunsod siya); at kung gaanong ibayong pagtalima sa mas pinahigpit na palisiya sa byahe.

Ilang linggo pa lang mula nang ibaba ng Malacañang ang Memorandum Order 32 na nagdagdag ng pwersa ng pulis at militar sa rehiyon ng Bikol at sa mga probinsya ng Negros Oriental, Negros Occidental at Samar.

Pero mas maigting ang pananabik at determinasyon niyang makapasok, sa unang pagkakataon, sa larangang gerilya. Dagdag pa sa kanyang pananabik ang nalalapit na pagdiriwang ng ika-50 anibersaryo ng Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas na gaganapin sa eryang kinikilusan ng Bagong Hukbong Bayan sa ilalim ng Rodante Urtal Command sa Samar.

Makalipas ang mahigit isang linggong pakikisalamuha sa hukbong bayan, nagdesisyon siyang manatili at magdeklarang fulltime na pulang mandirigma.

Narito ang kaniyang kwento.

UNANG HAKBANG

“Sabi ko sa kolektib (collective) ko, magpapaprograma ako mag-CS (larangang gerilya). Halos lahat sila nakapunta na sa mga taunang anniv (anibersaryo). Sabi ko, magtu-two weeks ako para matagal ang stay. Sayang naman ‘yong panahon na walang pasok.

In-expect ko naman ‘yong ganito talagang sitwasyon, ‘yong mahirap umakyat. Kasi marami na rin naman akong ka-collective na nagkukwento. Sa tingin ko naman kakayanin ko or kung hindi man, and’yan naman ‘yong mga kasama para ikonsolida ka, ganyan.

Dapat magkasama kami ni Rei, ‘yong kasama kong galing na rin sa ibang larangan. Kaso may kailangan siyang kausapin sa kabilang larangan. E, hindi raw ako pwedeng pumunta do’n. So, magkahiwalay kami. Sobra akong kinakabahan kasi wala talaga akong idea. First time ko ‘to.

Bilin nang bilin si Rei, ‘O ganito, ganyan-ganyan. ‘Wag kang mahiyang magtanong. Magpa-buddy ka. Wag kang mag-isang maliligo. Maglagay ka ng efficascent.’ Sobrang nanay! Hahaha!

Kinabahan ako kasi una, language barrier. Ang hirap makipag-usap. Buti na lang maraming nakakapag-Tagalog. Medyo mabilis akong nakakaintindi ng mga sinasabi nila kasi marunong ako ng salitang Bicol. Saka basic at may context naman.
Sobrang swerte ko kasi ‘yong mga kasama, sila mismo ‘yong lumalapit para magtanong, makipag-usap. So, ang mode na lang ay sumagot do’n sa mga tanong. Hahaha! Bago talaga lahat. Hindi lang sa mga tao, pati sa environment.”

PAGLABAS SA KINAMULATAN

“Malaking tulong na may scholarship ako no’ng college. Bawas na ako sa iisipin ng magulang ko. So, ang pinaka-main goal na lang talaga e maka-graduate—makatapos ng pag-aaral, makapasok sa magandang paaralan lalo na sa kolehiyo—tapos makatulong sa pamilya at magkapamilya rin nang sarili.

Pero hindi rin ganoon ipinupursige ng mga magulang ko ‘yong magka-career ako dahil babae naman ako; mag-aasawa lang din naman. May takdang edad sila na dapat by 26 may asawa ka na. Sa kolehiyo, e di mas namulat na hindi naman kailangan na magpamilya kaagad. Parang pwede namang mag-focus muna sa career—women empowerment, ganyan. Unti-unti akong namulat na hindi naman kailangang isantabi ‘yong mga pangarap dahil babae ako. Mas gano’n na ‘yong naging mode.

Matindi rin noon ‘yong issue ng free education sa college. Ang pagtingin ko pa no’n okey naman ‘yong sistema na kung may pera ka, e di magbayad ka. E marami rin ‘yong nagpu-push ng “Hindi! Scrap natin! Kailangan free education!” So, mas na-curious ako sa gagawin ng school kung walang magbabayad ng tuition? Kasi ganyan talaga ‘yong sistema ngayon. Hindi kasi sila nagsisikap e. Nando’n ako sa pagtingin na ‘yon.

Tapos highschool pa lang, may mode na ‘wag kayong sasali ng mga rally-rally’ sa college. Hindi naman negative ang pagtingin ko sa mga aktibista no’n. Mas sa akin, ano ba ‘yong ihahain nilang alternative solution?

Dahil solusyon ang hanap ko, sumama ako sa pag-aaral nila. E di, kumbinsido naman ako. Pero wala pa ‘ko do’n sa mode na sumali talaga. Hindi ako nagpa-member. Nando’n din kasi ‘yong connotation na ‘pag aktibista ka, hindi nakaka-graduate.”

PAGHAHANAP NG GIYA

“Tuloy-tuloy pa rin ako no’ng second year. Naengganyo akong sumali kasi napadalas na ‘yong mga pag-aaral tapos marami na ring mga kaibigan na kasali na. So, parang hatak din ng barkadismo, gano’n? Hahaha! Nag-decide akong sumali pero hindi pa ‘ko nag-active.

Pagtuntong ng third year, doon na ako mas lumubog sa gawain. Nagbibigay na ako ng mga pag-aaral. Mas dumalas na ang pakikisalamuha sa mga tao labas sa unibersidad. Lumawak ang mundo. Tapos February no’n, may nag-invite na sa akin na sumali sa underground organization ng kabataan—‘yong Kabataang Makabayan. Do’n na rin ako pinasumpa.

Naging mas malalim na ‘yong commitment ko. Pero kasabay din no’n ‘yong pagtatago sa magulang. Dahil Journalism ang course ko, ang dali kong nailulusot—kasi may legwork; field; kailangan sa project, kailangang may interbyuhin.
Hindi ko rin naasikaso ‘yong pagma-mass work sa pamilya. United naman sila sa mga issue. Alam naman nilang may maling nangyayari, e. Pero ang mode nila, tanggapin na lang natin kasi ganyan na ‘yong nangyayari. Kailangan silang paliwanagan kung ano ang dapat. ‘Pag nagkukwentuhan kami, parang katulad ko rin sila, nagtatanong sila—o bakit ganito? Anong magiging solusyon d’yan?”

REBELYON SA URI

Ang mode ko pa rin noon kahit kumikilos, maka-push pa rin na maka-graduate. Tinapos ko ‘yong thesis ko. Tapos e di ‘yon, naka-graduate. Tingin ko, okey lang naman na magtrabaho ako. Sa tingin ko ‘yong linya naman ng trabaho ko malaki pa rin ang maitutulong. Tapos mapi-please ko pa ‘yong magulang ko na nagtatrabaho ako. Kung dati napagsabay ko naman ‘yong pag-aaral at pagkilos, e di kaya ko rin naman siguro ngayon kasi mas hawak ko na ‘yong oras ko, mas may resources ako na makatulong.

Five months akong natengga dahil sa sobrang tagal ng proseso ng interview ng kumpanyang in-apply-an ko. Na-depress na rin ako kasi halos lahat ng kasabayan kong grumadweyt nagtatrabaho na. So kinuha ko na ‘yong opportunity do’n sa kakilala ng tatay ko. Kulang na kulang daw talaga ng empleyado.

Dahil sa sobrang demanding sa oras ng trabaho ko, hindi rin talaga napagsabay ang pagkilos. Wala rin ako halos naitutulong sa kolektib ko. Mas abot lang ng resources. Hindi rin ako laging nakakapagpa-update sa kanila. Nakakausap ko sila thru social media, hindi talaga personal kaya hindi sila makapagbigay ng payo kung ano na bang dapat kong gawin.

Naging cause din ‘yong trabaho ng depression. Doon ko napatunayan na kapag namulat ka na, mahirap na talagang pumikit. Sobrang totoo n’ya! Hahaha!

‘Yong mga ini-interview ko, puro pro-government ang sinasabi. Tapos hindi ka makapag-komento. ‘Neutral’ dapat. Buti sana kung “neutral” talaga e, kaso hindi. Kailangan talagang panigan ‘yong government. Gustong-gusto kong magsalita pero hindi ko magawa. Laging pigil. Ako mismo, alam kong hindi totoo ‘yong mga isinusulat ko. Sobrang labag na labag s’ya sa kalooban ko.

Hindi ko ibinibigay ‘yong best ko kasi alam kong wala naman s’yang magandang naidudulot. Hindi ko rin napapaunlad ‘yong sarili ko. Pwede ko pa sanang masabi na ‘Ok, naggo-grow ka. Naho-hone mo ‘yong talent mo’ pero hindi s’ya totoo.

‘Yong work ethics din mismo, hindi rin maganda. Puro basura ‘yong ginagawa ko, basura pa ‘yong paraan ng paggawa. Pero ok lang din naman sa kanila. Hindi rin maayos ‘yong pagtse-check. As in pangit talaga! Hahaha!

‘Yong time na may hinalikan si Duterte, may chat box ‘yong team namin sa trabaho tapos ginagawa pa nilang joke! Gustong-gusto kong mag-leave group kasi puro basura ‘yong pinag-uusapan nila, pero hindi ko magawa.

Tinatanong na ‘ko ng tatay ko noong una pa lang kung kumusta ako. Parang alam din naman n’ya ‘yong mga posisyon ko sa mga bagay-bagay. ‘Kinakaya mo pa ba na ganyan ‘yong mga sinusulat mo? Mga ginagawa mo?’ E di, dumating ako do’n sa puntong sobrang hirap nang lunukin ng mga bagay para sa’kin. Sinabi ko ‘yon sa mga magulang ko. Sinabi ko lahat ng dahilan. Nag-decide na ‘ko na mag-resign. Parang okey naman sa kanila, ‘Sige, kung hindi mo na talaga kaya.’ ”

PAGHAHANAP / PAGTATAGO

“Pumasok na ‘ko sa grupong lilipatan ko noon pa sanang pagka-graduate ko. Nagdeklara na ‘kong fulltime no’n sa grupo ko pero sa magulang ko, nagtatrabaho ang alam nila. Dahil alam nilang nagtatrabaho ako, kailangan kong mag-abot ng pera. So ayon, doble-doble lahat: raket tapos nagpu-fulltime.

Lahat ng nakukuha ko sa raket, binibigay ko sa magulang ko kasi ang alam nila may sweldo ako. Hindi ko rin sinabi na nag-staff house na ‘ko. Alam nila nagbabayad pa rin ako ng bahay para alam nilang may mga gastos ako.

Hindi ko rin kinaya. As in hindi ko na kayang rumaket kasi sobrang dami na ng gawain. Nahihirapan na ‘kong magsinungaling kasi kailangan ko ring umuwi ng weekend sa bahay namin. Nahihirapan na rin akong mag dahilan kung bakit hindi ako nakakauwi. Nag-decide na ‘kong sabihin na nag-fulltime na ‘ko. Aware naman sila do’n sa konseptong fulltime kasi nasasabi ko naman ‘yon lalo na no’ng college na may mga kaibigan akong kilala nila na nag-fulltime na.

Unang tanong agad sa’kin ng tatay ko, ‘NPA ka na ba?” Sabi pa niya huwag daw akong mag-e-NPA! As in ‘yon kaagad! Hahaha!

Sabi ko, ‘Haggard! FT pa lang ako dito sa labas. Hindi pa nga ako nakakapunta do’n (sa sonang gerilya)!’ Sabi ko kung NPA ako, nando’n na ‘ko. ‘Tsaka wala akong baril! Hahaha! Tapos sabi niya, ‘wag daw akong mag-e-NPA; wag na wag daw akong aakyat ng bundok.

Tuloy-tuloy ‘yong pagkumbinsi ng mga magulang ko na pag-isipan ko ‘yong desisyon ko. ‘Pa’no na ‘yong future mo? Kung magpu-fulltime ka, pa’no ‘pag nagkapamilya ka? Sa’n ‘yong trabaho mo?’

Tuwing may chance na umuwi, kukumbinsihin ako ng nanay kong ‘wag nang umalis. Tapos magkaaway kaming maghihiwalay kasi hindi siya papayag na aalis na naman ako.

Tapos ‘yong tatay ko, tinatanong din kung ano bang plano ko. Ituloy ko na lang daw ‘yong dati kong balak na mag-law. Sagot na raw n’ya buong tuition. Ako na lang daw bahala kung sa’n ako titira.

Sunod-sunod ‘yon! – O gusto mo ba ng ganito? Gusto mo ba ng bagong ganyan? – May mga pamba-bribe talagang ginagawa.

Sabi ko, hindi ko naman kailangan ‘yan. Pinapaliwanag ko, di ba nga part ng pagpapanibagong-hubog. Hanggang sa dumating ‘yong time na parang medyo natanggap na nila na gano’n.”

PAGBAKA SA SARILI

“Lagi naman nandoon ‘yong perspective ng magsi-CS ako. No’ng nag-decide akong mag-fulltime sa lungsod, naisip ko na magsi-CS din ako. Kahit naman no’ng college, do’n ko rin naman nakikita ‘yong sarili ko. Pero parang long term pa. Magtatrabaho muna saka magsi-CS.

Tapos no’ng nakasama ko si Rei, kasi galing na rin s’ya ng CS, ang dami n’yang kwento. So, do’n pa lang namumulat ka na. ‘Pag nasa lungsod kasi parang vague pa rin ‘yong tungkol sa agreb (agrarian revolution); totoo ba ‘yong rev government (revolutionary government), parang hindi naman—parang sobrang imposible, parang ang hirap n’yang gawin, or hirap n’yang i-maintain.

Naiisip ko rin kung kakayanin ko ba? Kasi parang mode ko no’ng una, three months muna, six months. Alam mo ‘yon, parang may option ka pa ring bumalik. Sobrang petibs (petiburges) n’ya na gusto mong may back up plan ka lagi—na kung sakaling ayoko na—naka-graduate naman ako so pwede pa rin akong magtrabaho sa labas kung sakaling hindi ko na talaga s’ya kaya.

Tapos nabanggit ni Ka Jag ‘yong “burning the bridge” daw ng pagbalik sa petibs na pamumuhay. Na may mga desisyon s’yang pinili para wala s’yang fallback.

Sabi ko, hala parang oo nga. Hindi mo mapu-fulfill ‘yong sinasabi mong pagpapanibagong-hubog kung ang thinking mo lagi ay may fallback ka.”

PAGSULYAP

“E, di mukhang nabubuo na ‘yong mga kundisyon para mag-fulltime. Ito na ‘yong nakita kong paraan para hindi na ‘ko bumalik sa dating ako. Dito ko na nakikita ‘yong sarili ko, bakit pa ‘ko nag-iisip ng option? Alam mo ‘yon, nakikita ko na ‘yong sarili ko kung pa’no ko kakausapin ‘yong mga masa, kung pa’no ‘ko magpo-propa (propaganda) sa kanila.

Decided naman na ‘ko mag-fulltime. Pero uuwi muna ‘ko after ng anniv. S’yempre para sana mag-ayos ng mga maiiwan. Naisip ng mga kasama dito na baka mahirapang makauwi at makabyahe pabalik. Nabanggit ko rin kasi sa kanila ‘yong hirap namin sa pagso-solicit ng pamasahe. Tapos ayon, matindi na rin ‘yong seguridad.

Paulit-ulit din ‘yong pag-iisip na s’yempre iba ‘yong mga tendensya ‘pag nando’n ka na ulit sa lungsod. Una, kultura. Malaki talagang pagpapanibagong-hubog kasi ibang-iba talaga ‘yong kalagayan dito sa nakasanayan natin sa labas. Kahit fulltime din ako sa labas, iba pa rin ‘yong kultura. Tapos ‘yong ganitong kalagayan na maputik. Tapos ‘yong kinagisnan mong bahay talaga—na may CR—‘yong maliliit na comfort.

Pangalawa, ‘yong usapin sa pamilya. Matindi talaga ‘yong emotional blackmail. Hindi sila aware do’n pero ang laking epekto no’n sa’tin. ‘Yong kailangan mong magpakatatag kasi hihilahin ka talaga. Sobrang hirap lagpasan. Lahat naman daw ng nagpu-fulltime pinagdadaanan ‘yon. Natural lang daw ‘yon.

Wala naman ako do’n sa mode na takot akong mamatay. Kasi given naman s’ya. ‘Yong takot ko lang sa hindi pag-uwi ay mas titindi ‘yong galit ng pamilya ko sa kilusan. Hindi man lang ako nakapagpaliwanag sa kanila. Hindi ko naayos ‘yong mass work sa sarili kong magulang. Kakulangan ko ‘yon na imbes na maintindihan nila, kung hindi man sila sumali, ‘yong pinaglalaban ng kilusan.

Pangatlo, na mas magiging mahirap ‘yong pagkilos dito kumpara do’n sa nakasanayan natin sa labas. Although matindi rin naman ‘yong militarisasyon sa labas pero relatively mas “safe?” Mas dito mo mapapatunayan ‘yong buhay-at-kamatayan talaga ‘yong dahilan ng paglaban n’yo. Mas matindi talaga ‘yong panganib pero sa sitwasyon kasi natin ngayon, pwede nang may mangyari sa’yong masama, e. Mas dito mo maiintindihan ‘yong pangangailangan ng pagtangan ng armas.

Alam mo ‘yon, kung ikukumpara ‘yong mga problema ko sa lungsod, walang-wala s’ya sa problema dito! Hahaha! Kahit wala ako do’n, kakayanin ng mga kakolektib ko ‘yan. Pero dito, kung mas malaki ‘yong pwersa, mas mapapabilis ‘yong gawain.”

PAGKAMPAY

“Napaisip ako sa mga sinabi nina Ka Ambo at Ka JR. Sabi ng mga kasama, malaking bagay raw sa mga parag-uma na may mga tagalungsod na pumupunta dito at nagpu-fulltime. Malaking bagay sa mga parag-uma na may mga tagalungsod—na relatibong mas okey ‘yong buhay at mas may ibang opportunity at option—pero pinipiling pumunta dito.

Sila mismo naiisip nila na ‘Bakit hindi kami kikilos? Bakit hindi kami magbibigay ng same effort na ibinibigay ng mga tagalungsod, eh kami naman ang pangunahing makikinabang sa rebolusyong agraryo?’

No’ng kinausap ko si Ka Jag na magpu-fulltime na ‘ko, mass work talaga ‘yong ni-request ko. Sabi n’ya, ‘E di magpalakas ka muna dito, mag-integrate ka muna nang three months para meron ka talagang panghahawakan na nakapag-mass work ka na—na mas lumubog ka na talaga, nakita mo na kung ano ‘yong mga pwede mong gawin dito. Kesa do’n sa aalis ka nang puro kwento ng mga kasama ang dala mo.

Ngayon, mas positibo na ‘yong pagtingin na magpakahusay sa gawain. Para naman ma-prove ko sa sarili ko na tama ‘yong pinili ko, tama ‘yong pagtanggal ko do’n sa option na meron akong babalikan. Kailangan ko ring ma-prove sa mga kakolektibo ko sa labas na kailangan talaga dito.

So kailangan ko s’yang galingan para mas maging maayos ‘yong gawain. Alam mo ‘yon, may maibabahagi ka talaga.

Na kailangan kong patunayan na tama ‘yong ginawa kong desisyon na piliin ang pagkilos kesa sa pagtatrabaho. Na hindi sayang ang buhay ko o ‘yong pinag-aralan ko dahil alam kong kailangang baguhin ang mali sa sistema.

No’ng nag-aaral pa ‘ko naisip ko na may maitutulong pa rin ako sa bansa kahit nagtatrabaho kasi prop pa rin s’ya. Pero ‘pag nando’n ka na sa loob mismo, makikita mo na hawak ka pa rin ng estado kahit nasaan ka mang kumpanya. Tapos kung private pa s’ya, mas matindi ‘yong pag-censor sa mga istoryang ilalabas mo.

Kaya mas pinili ko ang kilusan kesa sa trabaho dahil alam ko ‘yong kalagayan at mulat rin na merong kayang iambag na mas malaki. Relatibong mas malaki talaga kesa do’n sa maiaambag ko do’n sa trabaho.

At mas totoo ‘yong mga istoryang magagawa ko dito.”


Lalabagin ng kanilang yunit ang palisiyang “huwag mag-ingay” bago pa man pumutok ang liwanag. Aalingawngaw ang sigawan ng pagpupugay: “Mabuhay ang ika-singkwentang anibersaryo ng Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas!” Sabay-sabay na sasagot ang mga makakarinig mula sa ibaba, sa may bandang tagiliran, sa likuran, sa may kusina, sa lahat ng nakaposisyong pormasyon ng mga mandirigma: “Mabuhay!”

Naroon si Ka Maya. Buong giting na nakatindig sa hanay ng hukbong bayan: nagagalak, nagpupugay, nakataas-kamaong inaawit ang Internationale. Sa pagtatapos ay ang muling koro ng “Mabuhay! Mabuhay!”

Mula rito, kasama ng pulang kawan ng mga rebolusyonaryo, lilipad si Ka Maya. Para maging malaya. Para magpalaya.

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