Highest tribute to Comrade Helenita Pardalis
The Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) pays its highest tribute to Comrade Helenita Pardalis, endearingly known to comrades and the masses of Bicol and Eastern Visayas as Ka Ning, Ka Eliz, Ka Celine and Ka Elay.
Ka Elay was killed in an early morning aerial bombing raid conducted by the 8th Infantry Division in Barangay Imelda, Las Navas, Northern Samar, last November 23. She was 65 years old. Five other comrades and fighters perished in the brutal bombing that saw the disproportionate use of force by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the US-Marcos regime against a small guerrilla unit of the New People’s Army (NPA).
We extend our heartfelt sympathies to Ka Elay’s entire family, especially to her husband, sons, and grandchildren, as well as to her dear comrades and friends.
Ka Elay hails from Pio Duran, Albay in the Bicol Region where she spent most of her youth. She was the eldest among 9 siblings. She studied at the Pio Duran Elementary School and the Marcial O. Raniola Memorial School in her hometown. She took up college during the early years of martial law at the Aquinas University in Legazpi City, Albay.
Gross social inequities and political repression under martial law dictatorship prompted Ka Elay to become an activist and be close to the people. Amid the atmosphere of fear, and despite threats of arrests “salvagings,” she dared to take the path of resistance and joined the national democratic cause. She immersed herself among the workers and urban poor masses. Her heartfelt sympathies and manner endeared her to the masses and to comrades.
In the early 1980s, Ka Elay’s husband was abducted and disappeared by military agents in Metro Manila. She and her two children began a search that will last for years with no end. She joined other victims of enforced disappearance and became one of the officers of the group Find (Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance). Political repression continued under the Corazon Aquino regime, and she herself was arrested and detained for a number of years. She also later got remarried with a loving husband.
In the early 1990s, inspired by the Party’s Second Great Rectification Movement, Ka Elay decided to go to the countryside and join the New People’s Army. She returned to her home province where she immersed herself in mass work among the peasant masses, helping raise their social and political consciousness and rousing the organized masses to fight for their cause.
She would later become secretary of a guerrilla front in the Libmanan-Bato area in Camarines Sur, and later as secretary of the Party’s Camarines Sur Provincial Committee. For her exemplary achievements in mass work and Party organizing, she was elected as a member of the Bicol Regional Committee and its Executive Committee in the late 1990s.
She was later assigned by the Central Committee to serve as Deputy Secretary of the National Peasant Commission. Her rich experience in mass work and base building will be further developed, summed-up and shared across the entire Party organization and NPA. For years, she actively contributed articles to Ang Bayan.
Later in 2015, she was appointed to the Eastern Visayas Regional Committee where she was elected as Deputy Secretary. She was appointed to the Political Bureau of the Provisional Central Committee in June the following year. She was a delegate to the 2nd Congress of the CPP in November 2016 where she was elected as a full member of the Central Committee.
At the time of her death, Ka Elay was secretary of the Party’s Regional Committee in Eastern Visayas. Over the past few years, faced with the relentless large-scale attacks of the enemy, Ka Elay led the Party and NPA in Eastern Visayas to wage extensive and intensive guerrilla warfare on the basis of an ever widening and deepening mass base.
Without a doubt, the death of Ka Elay along with other comrades will leave a dent on the Party’s leadership in the Eastern Visayas region. However, a number of veteran and young Party cadres have already stepped up to take over the reins of leadership in the region. They are fully capable and willing to shoulder the difficult tasks. They have consolidated the leading committees and selected Ka Elay’s replacement. They are ever determined to lead the Party, the New People’s Army and the revolutionary mass movement of all oppressed and exploited classes in the cities and countryside, especially amid the worsening crisis of the semicolonial and semifeudal under the US-Marcos regime.
They have exerted all out effort to address the urgent socioeconomic problems of the masses, waging land reform and helping the masses overcome pests, successive typhoons, flooding and other climate disasters. Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the NPA in the region became the masses’ source of information and guide to overcome the health emergency. The NPA continues to organize production teams and help the people raise production, increase their harvest, fight for just wages and fair prices for their produce. As a result, the people’s war and the NPA continue to enjoy the deep and wide support of the masses of Eastern Visayas.
The enemy has dropped tons upon tons of bombs on the forests, fields and peasant communities, and have killed a number of Red fighters and Party cadres. The fascists have imposed martial law on hundreds of villages to control, restrict and closely monitor every movement of the people, in the vain hope of breaking the people’s will to fight and stop them from giving support to their heroic fighters. But in doing so, they have only sparked greater outrage. The peasant masses of Eastern Visayas remain the undying wellspring of the people’s war.
The unbreakable bond between the masses and the New People’s Army forms part of the undying legacy of Ka Elay. Her love for the downtrodden masses is boundless and continues to fill the spirit of every Red fighter and Party cadre that she had crossed paths with. The enemy may have succeeded in snuffing the life of Ka Elay, but she will forever live in the hearts and minds of the revolutionary masses. (December 16, 2022)