Correspondence: Guerrilla life: Unity and determination in knowing oneself and one another
Every day, Red fighters face a life and death struggle. To overcome challenges, it is important that every member of the people’s army knows himself and his fellow fighters.
In the people’s army, fighters forge strong unity and determination. Regular assessments of their activities are held, including sharing their personal background. These have helped comrades see their progress and how they can further improve their contributions to the revolution. Comrades draw lessons and inspiration from each other’s experiences. This practice forges discipline, unity and a strong determination to fight under the New People’s Army-Western Samar (Arnulfo Ortiz Command).
Ka JI, a military cadre
Comrade JI has shown remarkable determination and commitment in his more than two decades of service in the people’s army. He was recruited at the height of the Second Great Rectification Movement in the 1990s. He was one of the skilled comrades who promoted the correct Party line against wrong ideas and disorientation in the island of Samar. From the peasant class, he quickly developed as a Party cadre and warrior. He led expansion work that opened new fronts in the province. He was captured and imprisoned by the enemy, but remained loyal to the Party and the masses despite being subjected to physical and mental torture. After his release, he immediately returned to the people’s army with even greater conviction.
“When I die, then I die, but so long as I live I will continue to fight and help wage revolution,” vowed Ka JI. Presently, he serves a platoon commander and a leading cadre of the Party. He serves as an example to new and younger fighters in preserving security, organizing and doing propaganda work among the masses, as well as in cultural work.
Ka Isang, a warrior mother
Ka Isang sacrificed a comfortable and easy life when she joined the people’s army. She comes from the pettybourgeoisie, and was only a year away from completing her college course in psychology when she decided to live among the peasants in the countryside. This is where she formed her decision to serve the interests of the majority and completely abandon her own ambitions. In her three decades as a warrior, Ka Isang faced many sacrifices and hardships. These include being away from family, long treks, staying up late and hunger. Instead of getting discouraged, these sacrifices steeled her to fully devote her ability, strength, and life to the revolution.
One of the biggest sacrifices Ka Isang faced was being away from her child as she continues to fulfill her responsibilities. Despite this, her determination remains solid especially knowing that her child is cared for by her parents who support the people’s cause. Her child and all other children serve as inspiration for her to build a new society where mothers need not be separated from their children and where there exists genuine freedom and democracy for all.
Ka Niño, a working-class warrior
Hailing from the semi-proletariat, Ka Niño is used to working various jobs from a young age. At the age of 12, he experienced severe exploitation in the workplace. In exchange for low wages, he worked heavy loads, more than eight hours of work, and dangerous working conditions. Due to poverty, he once was forced to peddle and use drugs. While on vacation in the province to till the land and escape the desperate city life, Ka Niño met the New People’s Army, and was taught a short course about Philippine society and revolution which made him decide to become a people’s warrior.
“If I hadn’t been made aware of the revolutionary path, I probably would have been lost forever, or would have been killed in tokhang (war on drugs),” said Ka Niño. He became enthusiastic about political studies and immersing with the masses and comrades to better understand the revolution. At the age of 23, he assumed responsibilities as squad leader, political guide, and medic. Even as he brings with him influences of his old life such as arrogance in actions and speech, with constant proletarian remolding and the help of comrades he is able to let go of his bourgeois attitude. His resourcefulness learned from difficult city life now serves to carry out tasks and ensure the welfare of the masses and comrades.
Many fighters in the unit of Ka JI, Ka Isang and Ka Niño are young peasants who suffer landlessnes, low wages for farm work, low farmgate prices of copra and palay, and lack of social services. Because of these, it is easier for them to understand that only by collectively advancing armed struggle can they defend their rights. Some of them were leaders of mass organizations and barangay officials in their respective barrios who, because of the desire to fight for the rights and welfare of their fellow residents, were harassed and threatened by the fascist military.