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revolutionary family

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.###

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#RevolutionaryFamily
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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.”

Love a Revolutionary, Love the Revolution

in Mainstream
by Trisha Sarmiento

The cold wind, sturdy pine trees and the scenic mountain ranges of the Cordilleras in Northern Luzon set the perfect mood for  the wedding of two guerrilla fighters of the New People’s Army (NPA).  The  ceremony was held March 29, 2017, right after the Cordillera NPA Regional Command, the Chadli Molintas Command, celebrated the NPA’s 48th founding anniversary.

It was everything a wedding should be. The bride held a bouquet and wildflowers adorned the aisle for the bridal march.  There was the exchange of marriage vows and the signing of the marriage contract issued by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). The couple also had the NPA’s version of the saber arch, counseling from the members of their collectives, and tips and advice from the wedding sponsors. The much-awaited first kiss of Ka Guiller and Ka Nancy as husband and wife sealed the promise of liberating love.  

 

No ordinary love

Comrade Nancy joined the revolutionary armed movement in May 2014. Ka Guiller was her squad leader.  The attraction between the two slowly developed as they carried out their political tasks in the NPA. They started to know each other really well. Later, Guiller would convince Nancy to become a full-time member of the NPA.  Even when they were assigned to separate units, their attachment to each other grew stronger. Three months later, they found themselves in an “informal” relationship, meaning that their respective units or collectives had yet to approve of their relationship as required by the Party and NPA processes.

As part of NPA discipline, new recruits are dissuaded from entering into a relationship for at least a year to give them time to fully adjust to their tasks in the people’s army. But Guiller and Nancy pursued their relationship despite the restriction and caution from their respective units. This led to conflicts between them and between their units such that they decided to temporarily leave the people’s army.

Both went back to the city, and for more than a year, Ka Guiller and Ka Nancy actively took part in the urban mass movement before they sought the consent of their respective collectives to formalize their relationship. They went through deep-going criticism and self-criticism. While in the urban mass movement, the couple faced more problems and conflicts. However, they managed to overcome these obstacles with the support of their respective groups, but what impelled them more was the love they have nurtured for each other, for the masses and for the revolution.

And so, after one-and-a half years in the urban center and, after undergoing assessment and criticism and self-criticism sessions with their collectives, Ka Guiller and Ka Nancy decided to return to Cordillera to take part in the struggle they both truly love: to serve the revolution as full-time NPA fighters.

Months later, Ka Nancy and Ka Guiller exchanged vows in the presence of the Red fighters, their friends, and the rural masses.

“Marahas ang digma, pero mas marahas ang mga pinag-uugatan nito. Kapasyahan natin ang pagtahak sa landas na ito. Ang ating pagpili ay siyang ating pagtindig. Ang ating pagtindig ay atin ding panata. Panata, hindi lamang sa iyo, mahal, higit lalo sa bayan nating minamahal. Ang mga kabundukan ang ating paraisong tirahan, at sa piling ng minumutyang masa tayo ay napapanday.

Hanggang sa pagkakapatas,

Hanggang sa pagpula ng silangan,

Hanggang sa ganap na tagumpay.

Sa kahuli-hulihan, ikaw ay mananatili,

Ang aking katiwasayan sa gitna ng marahas na digmaan.”

(“War is cruel, but its roots are more violent. It is our choice to take this path. Our choice is our stand. Our stand is our commitment; a commitment, not only for you, my love, but most of all, for the people who we truly love. The mountains are our haven and with the masses, we are tempered.

Through stalemate,

When the east turns red,

To complete victory,

In the end, you remain,

My calm in a violent war.”)

“Nagmahal. Nagwasto. Nagtagumpay.” (We have loved. We have rectified. We have triumphed.).

These words sum up the love story of Guiller and Nancy.

 

Revolutionary love

Like all revolutionary couples, Ka Guiller and Ka Nancy adhere to the CPP  policy on marriage and relationships laid down in  the document “On Proletarian Relationship of Sexes” observed and followed since the 70s. In 1998, the policy was revised to include same-sex relationship and marriage apart from further discussions on  courtship, marriage, divorce, and disciplinary actions. The NPA has its own guidelines based on the principles stated in the Party policy.

Without doubt, revolutionaries, like other individuals, do fall in love.

The difference is that revolutionaries express their love for each other in the context of the revolutionary interests of the people. While there is “sex love,”  there is also “class love”,  and the latter  in fact is considered the principal aspect that defines the essence of their love.  In the service of the revolution  love springs, blooms and grows, hence love relationships cannot but serve and uphold the revolutionary aspirations of the Party and the proletariat. For revolutionaries, love is an integral part and a great expression of their revolutionary commitment.

Revolutionaries maintain the right to freely choose whom to love, but  there are restrictions as well as responsibilities.  “Free love”, “sexual freedom” or anarchy in relationships are strictly prohibited as this can lead to the violation of the rights of others, irresponsibility in the relationship, and breach of organizational discipline.

In short anarchism in love contradicts the revolution’s objective to establish a just society and the real equality of the sexes.  Hence revolutionaries find the rationale behind the guiding principles of the Party  on love, relationship and sex. Such principles draw a line between freedom and discipline, between rights and responsibilities, and between emotions and principles.

These principles aim to secure the interest of the Party and the revolution at all cost, protect the rights of every revolutionary  and other individuals who may be involved, and advance a healthy proletarian relationship between couples inside the revolutionary movement.

 

Love a revolutionary

The dominant kind of love today is just a mere reflection of the existing social order and culture. In a semi-colonial and semi-feudal system, love can be oppressive, patriarchal and decadent in character, vulnerable to abuses and violations of the rights of others.

Revolutionaries know that to liberate love from oppression one must strive harder to revolutionize and liberate the entire unjust society. This is what the love story of Ka Guiller and Ka Nancy has shown.

And they are not alone.  Revolutionary love blossoms in many NPA camps, farms, workplaces, campuses, communities and institutions where the national democratic revolution has taken its roots. Indeed, no love is sweeter and nobler than revolutionizing society in the company of one you truly love and want to share the rest of your life with.  Hence loving a revolutionary is experiencing a kind of love that is selfless and liberating, guided and grounded so that it genuinely serves the people.

Building a Revolutionary Family

in Mainstream
by Pat Gambao

In a society divided into social classes, the family, its smallest unit, is prime and sacred. Its interest and concern, next to self, is foremost.  One’s goal and aspirations are usually directed towards the welfare and good of this small band of people.  One has to depart from convention to realize and embrace the whole society as one’s family.

“In my early days with the New People’s Army (NPA), I felt lonely. I longed for home, for my family.  But comrades were quick to console me and their advice was enlightening and heartening. Likewise, I found solace from my immersion with the masses of Lumad people. I felt they were my family.  Everyone is my brother, my sister, my mother, my father.  I realized that the society I wanted to serve and change is the family in itself,” narrated Ka Roberto.

As Ka Roberto stayed longer in the people’s army, the greater demands of work and the fruitful results of their efforts which benefited the masses left him no time to brood, to long for home.

Home is where Ka Roberto and his siblings were guided during their formative years.  Exposure to the harsh realities of the unjust social structures tempered them in life.

Ka Roberto’s parents were young activists in the 80s, later becoming  full-fledged members of the Communists Party of the Philippines (CPP). They had been emphatic about the many things that need to be done and that time was of the essence.  They made the children understand their hectic schedules and that all the things that they were doing were not necessarily for their own good only, but also for the many downtrodden, as well as for the total liberation of the country; that to succeed in this formidable task, profound commitment, selfless sacrifice and tremendous effort are required.

Like most couples in the movement, Ka Roberto’s parents strove to raise their children according to revolutionary  principles, virtues, and discipline.

The family was accustomed to simple living—simple home, simple food on the table, simple clothes, and simple other needs.  The children were  given their needs, but not everything they fancied. Whatever little luxuries they enjoyed at times came from their grandparents, uncles or aunts who were quite well off.  Their mother referred to their kin as their support system as they were the ones they ran to in times of need.  Through all these, the siblings felt a need to act on something that only dawned on them slowly, persistently, as they were introduced to the circle that their parents  moved in.

Often, the siblings had been brought along to meetings and rallies where the country’s situation was discussed and varied issues and problems were brought up.  Though their young minds could not fully comprehend them, they became familiar with slogans and calls that defined the issues. They mingled and played with children of other activists whom they found out were also familiar with the chants.  Later, the siblings attended workshops with their playmates and friends and learned more. Gradually, they came to understood more—why and how poverty, injustice, and revolution arise.

Their parents’ openness about their activities and the rationale behind these had great impact and influence on Ka Roberto and his siblings.

In grade school, the young Roberto was the typical boy on the go—inquisitive, naughty, and dogged. Together with some classmates, he at times figured in petty brawls that prompted his teachers to call on his parents. In class, he busied himself doodling and drawing. But later, his skills in illustration would come in handy when he himself would lecture on Philippine society and revolution.

In high school, Ka Roberto and his siblings were active in progressive youth organizations.  They became adept at organizing and instruction work.

Never did their parents restrain them from their activism, but continued to give them advice and shared lessons from their own experiences. They also encouraged them to integrate with the peasants in the countryside and the urban workers in the factories.  Exposure to the life and struggles of the poor peasants and workers further kindled the siblings’ revolutionary spirit.  Soon, they too were initiated into the Party.

When Ka Roberto dropped out of school and decided to work full time in the movement, his parents respected his decision, no matter how much they wanted him to finish his studies to enhance his capabilities in fulfilling revolutionary tasks. He gave up the opportunity to enroll at the UP College of Fine Arts and a scholarship in another state university. Upon reaching 18, he opted to join the New People’s Army, convincing his parents that whatever skills were available in school, he could also learn from his work with the masses in the revolution. His parents fully understood him.  In fact, they were elated over his decision, which inspired and made the whole family proud. Everyone felt that every single addition to the people’s army is a valued reinforcement, a multiplier-factor for the growth and strength of the revolution.

Providing deeper insight into his decision, Ka Roberto explained: “I had been with the urban movement for a long time before I decided to join the revolutionary army,   The current situation of the Philippine society and the growing demand of the revolution spurred me to take a new course in my life.  I don’t want to waste my time on trivial things, like engrossing in senseless games and chats on the internet.  I prefer to offer the vigor and sinew of my youth for the revolution.   We are young only once.  I do not want to squander the time of my youth and forever regret it.”

For a moment he was pensive, then shared what had preoccupied his mind. “Have we pondered why the farmers who till the soil and produce the food have nothing to eat?”

In Mindanao, the land of promise, Ka Roberto found his niche among the Lumad people.  He mastered not only their different spoken languages — Visayan, Ilonggo, Mandaya, Bagobo, Manobo — but also their way of life which he imbibed.  For two years now he has been assigned in different guerilla fronts under the Pulang Bagani Battalion (PBB) of the Southern Mindanao Region.

Last year, Ka Roberto got married to his comrade-in-arms.  He is now a proud father to a child who will be raised the way he and his siblings were brought up.  This child and those who will come after him will be nurtured by—and, in turn,  will manifest selfless love for—the revolution and the masses.

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