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Rodante Urtal Command

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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Maya Flies

in Mainstream
by Pat Gambao

The trek to a guerrilla front in Samar was an obstacle race. One had to scale hills, cross streams, walk miles of green fields, hold up through slippery bogs. And with the Office of the President’s recent Memorandum Circular No. 32 reinforcing the number of troops in the three regions (Negros, Samar, and Bicol) perceived to be the stronghold of the New People’s Army (NPA), enemies abound.

She was supposed to be with Rei, her co-member in the organization who had been to the front before. But he was to go to some other front. He just gave her lots of advice and instruction about the place and how she should conduct herself. He reminded her not to be shy to ask but that was another possible barrier, the language.

But Maya’s excitement to go to a guerrilla front for the first time, especially at the time when the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) had a celebration of its 50th year, overcame all difficulties. She was full of joy to join the celebration at the front with the Rodante Urtal Command’s Red fighters and the masses.

The Initiation

Maya grew up and studied in the city. As a scholar in college, she did not burden her parents with the exorbitant cost of education. Being a woman, her parents had simple dreams for her: finish her studies; get a job; marry by age 26; raise a family. It seemed her life has been programmed that way. Thus, her main goal then was to finish her studies, get a good job and be of help to the family.

The university had been the venue for Maya’s blossoming, her political and social discernment. For one a woman’s role is not confined to the family. She does not need to marry at once. She can focus on her career, equip herself. It is not true that because she is a woman, she can no longer pursue her dreams. Women empowerment was her peg then.

“While schoolmates called out for free tuition fees, I stood my ground,” she confessed. “I thought there was nothing wrong with increasing tuition fees because the school needs funds to sustain it.” Worse, being a scholar, Maya belittled the efforts of the students in their studies. For her they did not strive enough.

Since high school, she has shunned rallies, not because she had a negative notion on activism, but because she was after alternative solutions to the issues. Looking for said alternatives, she joined discussions, attended forums, and joined education sessions. “But I did not join any organization because of the notion that activists do not graduate,” Maya said.

However, in her sophomore year, as she continued attending education forums and as many of her friends became members of youth organizationa, Maya was swayed to join. “Hatak ng barkadismo (drawn by group mentality),” she laughingly admitted. “Just that, no commitment. Yet.”

She started to actively participate in the organization in her third year in college. Eventually, she also joined the Kabataang Makabayan, an underground national democratic youth organization. Discovering a new world beyond the confines of the university, her horizon widened, her understanding of social realities broadened, her commitment deepened. She kept it a secret to her parents, which was not difficult to do. For a journalism student, legwork, fieldwork, coverage, and projects were normal. However, she really failed to do mass work in the family to change their phlegmatic attitude on critical social issues. All she managed to do during their casual conversations was to answer their questions about current events. “Of course, I did not expect them to join me. All I wanted was for them to understand.” She said.

Treading the Petty Bourgeois Path

Although Maya was active in the movement, she has not given up her dreams. She would graduate. Find a job. Please her parents. She could still be of service to the country. She could apply what she learned in school. She did not see this as obstacle to her tasks in the movement. She believed it could even help. But she realized she was wrong. The demands of her job got on the way. Except for sharing a part of her salary to the movement, she no longer participated in the activities. She got in touch with her collective only through the social media. She missed their camaraderie and advice.

For one who is socially conscious like Maya, the pretensions of the corporate world, the primacy of self-interest, the squabble to satisfy one’s ambition, the boot licking, the lies are sickening, even depressing. In her work, she needed to portray the image of a good government—compassionate and truly serving its constituents. Under these circumstances, she could not give her best. She could not grow. The system is harsh, she needed to toe the line. Her worst fear: teh system is contagious, that she might be sucked up and lost her soul in the process.

The kissing-on-the lips incident involving Duterte and an OFW in Korea was discussed in the boardroom as a mere laughing matter. As a woman advocate, Maya could not take it, the misogyny of one who holds the highest and supposedly most respectable position in the land; the tolerance to such a boorish act. “I almost walked out,” she said.

Her father noticed that her articles seemed atypical of her person. “He asked me if I was okey with my job, if I could still put up with it. That did it. I decided to resign,” she shared.

Maya went full time in the movement after that, in a group where she was supposed to be assigned after graduation. Her parents had no inkling that she had left her job because she was still so busy. To cover up for her new status, she had to shuffle between her tasks in the movement and her “rackets” (odd jobs) to be able to still give some sum to her parents.

When the time came that she could no longer sustain her tasks and her job simultaneously, she decided to spill the beans to her parents who readily understood. “They are familiar with the ‘fulltime’ concept since they have been exposed to my fulltime buddies who used to frequent the house,” she explained. When her father blankly asked if she had joined the NPA, Maya laughingly retorted, “I am fulltime in the organization here, I have not even been to the mountains. See, I have no gun.”

“Of course there was the parental advice not to join the NPA, not to go up to the mountains, to think over my decision to go fulltime, to mull over my future family life,” Maya continued. Her father even offered to support her in law school, a dream she once cherished. The argument with her parents, especially her mother, was a greater hurdle.

The Decisive Option

Going to the countryside has always been a long-term goal for Maya since she was in college. But she knew she would work first, practice her profession. But when she met Rei, who had been in the countryside for some time, she was awed and inspired by his stories about the guerrilla front—the vibrant, valiant masses, the agrarian revolution, the revolutionary government. She thought a good three months or even six in the countryside would be fine, tolerable. She has the option to return if she could not really withstand it. She can always find work in the city because she is a degree holder. She has a fallback.

She planned to go back to the city after the 50th anniversary celebration with a vow to return for a longer stint. She would just prepare those she would leave behind. But she thought of the difficulties of coming back to the front once she’s back in the city such as raising money for her fare, the stern security arrangements, and most of all the enticement of urban life—the comfort, the culture, the race for affluence and fame, as well as the overriding parental influence. She feared her parents’ anger, not much at her but at the movement. Such fear is greater than her fear of death in the heavily militarized countryside. Although she thought it was still relatively safe in the front because the NPA is armed unlike the activists in the cities. This, to Maya, affirms the necessity and potency of armed struggle.

The simple and seemingly crude life in the countryside has its own allure though—life with the struggling masses is an inspiration and a challenge, the joy of interacting with them, learning from them, serving them. “I could not forget what Ka Ambo and Ka JR told me,” Maya professed. “The presence of youth from the urban centers joining the parag-uma (peasants) in their struggle, leaving behind the comfortable life in the city where opportunities abound, fires them to strive for the advance of the revolution. After all they (the peasants) are the ultimate beneficiaries.”

However, the process of remolding the personality, habits, and behaviour that one has been customed to, probably since birth, is such a Herculean task, greater than climbing a mountain. To leave behind the comfort of life, abandon the lofty dreams, forgo the urge for self-fulfillment is a tremendous challenge.

Maya is hopeful she could surmount the challenges as she integrates with the masses, as she gives her best, as she imbibes their culture, immerses in their struggle to rise above the penury of their plight and liberate themselves, liberate all of us, from the fetters of the oppressive and exploitative system.

As Maya stood with the Red fighters during the 50th anniversary celebration, fist raised singing the Internationale, she shed off all reservations and like a fledgling that just discovered its wings, she soared to her new life. ###

#YouthFightBack
#ServeThePeople
#CherishThePeoplesArmy
#HanggangSaTagumpay
#JoinTheNPA

—–
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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.

Manlalakbay sa Magdamag

in Arts & Literature
ni Kas Jeff, Rodante Urtal Command
[Isinalin nina Kasamang Tara, Kasamang Sara, Kasamang Ara]

Tiarabot na an uran.
Pangilal-an han mga bituon ha kalangitan.
Antes pausa-usa, pades-pades,
Parungpong hira nga manhitago
Ha luyo han panganuron han kagab-ihon.

Makikisirong kita nga mga manlalakbay
Ha buksol nga butkon hini nga bukid.
Nakapas-an ha maabtik niya nga sugbong
An mga hagtaas nga kahoy
Temporaryo nga sasab-ongan naton
Han aton mga duyan ngan pahuway.

Kakantahan han durungan nga koro
Han mga ngiya-ngiya, mananap ngan insekto,
Ha duyog han mga karasikas han mga dahon,
An agsob nga panuro han uran,
Ha haganas han sapa ha unhan
An pagal naton nga mga kalawasan.

Igtataklap naton an huram nga dagaw
Surusumpay hira nga hitaas ngan habubo,
Halapad ngan magnipis nga mga dahon ngan sanga.
Kamuplahe an kasusudkan hini nga kagugub-an
An magtatago han aton mga tiagi nga nahibilin.

Pero ayaw pagsayop hin hilarum nga pangaturog
Ha tikahilarum nga ritmo han katutnga nga kagab-ihon:
Ini an pahinumdom han kahigaraan han kasisidmon.
Buta ha hunapan an aton mga mata,
Pirme nakaandam an pan-abat ta.

Mahagkot, mahinay an sariwa nga hangin,
Mamara, mahadlat an aso ha haring.
Dako an kaibhan han nuknok ngan namok,
May dara nga mensahe an mga huni ngan dalugdog.
Kilalal-on hin maupay an pagkaiba-iba
Han nagkakahulog nga mga sanga
Han katumba han mga kahoy o mga bagakay nga nabuto
Tikang ha alingawngaw han putok han punglo.

Ngan antes mawaswas an yamog han mag-aga,
Antes pa magwarak an tiarabot nga lamrag,
Pagtitirub-on naton an natirok nga bag-o nga kusog.
Hihipuson an mga gamit ngan mag-aandam han paglakat.
Isesekreto han lagas nga bukid an uruunina nga paghapil
Ngan mamingaw nga maghuhulat ha utro naton nga pagbalik.

Kumplikado an dalan han ginhahasog nga gerra
Pero ha kada pagsagka ngan paglugsong
Pirme seguruhon an aton pagsulong.
Nakakawait an direksyon han aton nga larangan
Pero kabisado naton an tukma nga estratehiya
Para maglingkod
Ha masa
Para magpasalamat
Ha ira
Para magbigay pagpupugay
Ha mga namartir nga kasama
Ngan para tumanon an aton panaad
Nga ighalad an kadaugan
Ha altar han rebolusyon.

===========

MANLALAKBAY SA MAGDAMAG

Parating na ang ulan.
Babala ng mga bituin sa kalangitan.
Bago paisa-isa, pares-pares,
Kumpol-kumpol silang nagsipagkubli
Sa likod ng mga ulap ng gabi.

Nakikipisan tayong mga manlalakbay
Sa matipunong bisig nitong bundok.
Nakapasan sa makisig niyang balikat
Ang matatayog na punong
Pagsasabitan natin pansamantala
Ng ating mga duyan at pahinga.

Ipaghehele ng nagsasalimbayang koro
Ng mga kuliglig, kulisap at insekto,
Sa saliw ng mga dahon,
Ng madadalas na tikatik ng ulan,
Ng ragasa ng sapa sa may di kalayuan
Ang pagal nating mga katawan.

Ikukumot natin ang hiram na anino,
Salasalabit silang mataas at mababa,
Malapad at manipis na mga dahon at sanga.
Komoplahe ang liblib nitong kagurangan*
Ang magtatago sa mga bakas nating iniwan.

Ngunit huwag magkamaling pasisirin ang himbing
Sa papalalim na ritmo ng hating gabi:
Ito ang paalala ng kinasanayan nang karimlan.
Bulag sa ublagan ang ating mga mata,
Panatilihing nakaalerto ang pandama.

Malamig, banayad ang sariwang hangin,
Tuyo, matalim ang usok sa haring*.
Malaki ang pagkakaiba ng nuknok* at lamok,
May hatid na mensahe ang mga huni at dagundong.
Kilalaning maigi ang pagkakaiba-iba
Ng paglagapak ng mga sanga,
Ng pagkabuwal ng puno o pagsabog ng mga buho
Mula sa alingawngaw ng putok ng punglo.

At bago mahawi ang hamog ng magdamag,
Bago pa man kumalat ang paparating na liwanag,
Lilikumin natin ang naipong bagong lakas.
Ililigpit ang mga gamit at maghahanda sa pagbaktas*.
Ililihim ng matandang bundok ang sandaling paghimpil,
At tahimik na maghihintay sa muli nating pagbalik.

Masalimuot ang daan ng tinatahak na digmaan
Subalit sa bawat pagsagka* at paglusong,
Palaging tiyak ang ating pagsulong.
Nakaliligaw ang direksyon ng ating larangan
Pero kabisado natin ang wastong estratehiya
Para maglingkod
sa masa
Para magpasalamat
sa kanila
Para magbigay pagpupugay
sa mga namartir na kasama
At para tuparin ang ating panata
Na ialay ang tagumpay
Sa altar ng rebolusyon.

30 Disyembre 2018
Northern Samar

 

kagurangan – kagubatan
haring – sigâ
nuknok – niknik
pagbaktas – paglakad
pagsagka – pag-akyat

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