Emulate Ka Ella’s conviction of serving the people and the revolution

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Negros Island Regional Committee | Communist Party of the Philippines September 08, 2021

Highest revolutionary tribute to Ka Ella and all our people’s martyrs and heroes! Fight and frustrate the counterrevolutionary war of the tyrannical US-Duterte regime and carry on the people’s war to new and greater heights!

The Negros Island Regional Party Committee accords the highest revolutionary honor to Kerima Lorena “Ka Ella” Tariman and Joery Dato-on “Ka Pabling” Cocuba who died in the fascist hands of the Philippine Army’s 79th Infantry Battalion in an encounter on August 20, 2021 at Brgy. Kapitan Ramon, Silay City, Negros Occidental. Ka Ella, 42, was a member of the regional Party committee on the Island and the secretary of the front Party committee in Northern Negros. Ka Pabling, 38, was a long-time peasant organizer who had just joined a unit of the Roselyn Jean Pelle Command of the the New People’s Army (RJPC-NPA).

We share in the grief of the family, friends, comrades and the countless oppressed and exploited masses that our new martyrs have selflessly served in Negros and, in the case of Ka Ella, in other parts of the country. We are one in the call to turn such deep sorrow over the loss of exemplary proletarian revolutionaries into a powerful collective resolve to fight and frustrate the counterrevolutionary war of the tyrannical US-Duterte regime and carry on the people’s war to new and greater heights.

The news of Ka Ella’s death immediately prompted her closest colleague’s and various other quarters to offer their thoughts in remembrance of her invaluable contributions to the student movement, cultural work, human rights defence and struggle for genuine land reform. This has highlighted Ka Ella’s personal journey and noteworthy achievements as artist and activist, poet and patriot.

More importantly, this has also brought to the fore, in no uncertain terms, the justness and necessity of armed revolution, the path towards which appears to be getting wider each day in the midst of tyranny and crisis, and also on account of the profound inspiration and courage that could be drawn from Ka Ella’s supreme sacrifice and those of other revolutionary martyrs.

Three years ago, Ka Ella brought with her to Negros not only an unwavering commitment to take part in the people’s war on the Island but also an already rich accumulation of revolutionary practice with the New People’s Army from her earlier assignments in other regions.

In 2003, shortly after giving birth to her son, Ka Ella joined the National Cultural Bureau’s armed cultural squad that was attached at different times to various guerrilla platoons in the Bicol Region. She played a crucial role in the successful breakthroughs of the said unit in integrating cultural work in mass base building, agrarian revolution and armed struggle in the guerrilla zones of Sorsogon, Catanduanes and Masbate.

Ka Ella was the chief writer of the cultural training modules of the Artista at Manunulat ng Sambayanan (ARMAS-NDFP) which are now standards in both the countryside and the cities. She was also part of the editorial team of the 2005 Ulos, the cultural journal of the national democratic movement, which featured the works of Red fighters and peasant mass activists of Bicol that participated in the literary workshops that Ka Ella herself facilitated.

There were two instances during this period when Ka Ella had to leave the guerrilla zone to recover from successive miscarriages. Yet even in such state of physical and emotional distress, she didn’t allow herself to idle away her time and be detached from any practical or theoretical revolutionary activity. In these brief intervals she volunteered to curate a couple of Ulos issues, mobilizing in the process a number of artist friends and allies for translation or illustration work. She also wrote several cultural reviews while following a strict reading regimen of the Marxist classics.

In 2007 Ka Ella took on a more comprehensive duty and direct territorial responsibility when she was assigned to a guerrilla front in Camarines Sur. There she took the helm of a guerrilla platoon as its political instructor. A recent statement by the East Camarines Sur’s Tomas Pilapil Command in honor of Ka Ella, or Ka Akira and Ka Kyla as she was known in those parts, attests to her tireless and thorough efforts at social investigation, mass and Party education, mass base expansion and consolidation, anti-feudal campaigns, as well as military work, the fruits of which the people and revolutionary forces in the Partido areas and the Caramoan Peninsula continue to reap up to this day.

Ka Ella found herself several times in the thick of armed battles with fascist enemy troops in Bicol. In all these, she was always brave and alert. She was always the first one to tell the comrades not to panic or to rouse them from demoralization. She personally attended to the wounded and made sure that basic guerrilla items that were left behind like clothes and hammocks were immediately replenished.

Already way past her teens when she was deployed to Camarines Sur, Ka Ella, because of her petite frame and youngish features, was nonetheless fondly referred to by the masses as the intelligent nene who carried an armalite and chewed betel. Chewing betel, she found out, was one of the easiest ways to start a conversation with the barrio folk whom she genuinely cherished as her teachers, and who loved her in return for exemplifying, in her own simple ways, the essence of being one of the best daughters of the people. On many occasions she became mother, too, to barefoot children of poor peasants, even as she constantly had to overcome the pain of being away from her own child.

In 2010 Ka Ella transferred to the Eastern Visayas. As Ka Conching, she served as deputy secretary of the main front of the Arnulfo Ortiz Command in Western Samar.

She was vocal of her appreciation of the theoretical fluency of the revolutionary forces, organized masses and children of comrades in Samar which she found quite high and humbling. Ka Ella particularly admired the region’s KPA or Kurso Para sa mga Aktibista, an all-in-one manual for revolutionaries which she said every guerrilla front in the country should have.

She was likewise very open about her views on the need to decisively combat conservatism in military work and mass base building. Ka Ella was one among those who proposed that the guerrilla front resolve to establish Red political power in the middle terrains and coasts in order to reach a greater number of peasant communities and to have a wider space for maneuver.

Her stint in Samar was, however, cut short when her husband was captured by the military in 2011. This forced her to go back to Metro Manila to better supervise the campaign for his release which, thanks largely to her relentless endeavours, gained broad national and international support and eventually compelled the Department of Justice in 2013 to dismiss his case.

Returning to the guerrilla zone in 2018, this time in the country’s hacienda capital, Ka Ella set out to quickly readjust herself physically and mentally to the rigors of armed revolutionary life. That she was able to master both Hiligaynon and Cebuano in so short a time was proof not so much of her unique sense of language but of her sheer determination to fully and effectively perform her new tasks.

As a regional cadre, Ka Ella actively took part in the formulation of the current five year program of the Party in Negros. She participated in the summing up of the last twenty-five years of revolutionary experience on the Island which enriched her understanding of the region and where she was generous in sharing her insights.

Ka Ella contributed a vital segment to the updated regional social investigation and class analysis (SICA) document, particularly on the history of the hacienda system in Negros and its present operation. She wrote a detailed primer on the current situation of sugar farm workers and mill workers on which the regional antifeudal campaign plan of 2020 was based.

As secretary of the front Party committee in Northern Negros, Ka Ella worked closely with responsible cadres and Red fighters in rectifying tendencies of conservatism and empiricism in various aspects of political and military work amid the brutal implementation of Memorandum Order 32 and Executive Order 70 on the Island.

The front was able to expand to other areas to deny the AFP of effective focus while still maintaining political guidance among the revolutionary masses in highly militarized communities. Collective food production and medical missions were organized in response to the COVID 19 pandemic in Northern Negros. The RJPC also heeded the people’s demand to punish the operators of destructive large-scale quarrying.

The RJPC, in a eulogy, expressed its gratitude to Ka Ella for consistently striving to share her knowledge to her comrades and the masses while humbly learning from them as well. She inspired them to persevere and be competent in their duties. She was pivotal in revitalizing revolutionary propaganda and education in Northern Negros.

Even before Ka Ella’s death, fascist 303rd and 302nd brigades had long been bragging that the Northern and Southeast Negros fronts had already been reduced to insignificance. Now they delude themselves further with the belief that the Northern Negros front had finally been dismantled with the passing away of its leader. While Ka Ella’s death certainly amount to a great loss, many more cadres and revolutionary forces including those whom Ka Ella herself had helped develop, are all willing and capable to collectively lead the people’s army and the masses in fighting and frustrating the brutal counterrevolutionary campaign of the fascist armed forces in Northern Negros.

As of this writing, Ka Pabling’s family has yet to claim his remains for fear of what the fascist Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) might do to them. Meanwhile, there is reason to believe that Ka Ella was an hors de combat (a combatant who was no longer in a position to fight) when the 79th IB found her. The fascist military troops either left her to bleed to death or just finished her off.

There is no other way of seeking justice at this time for Ka Ella and Ka Pabling’s death, no higher tribute to their martyrdom, than to persevere in intensive and extensive guerrilla warfare based on an ever widening and deepening mass base. The revolutionary movement in Negros must launch greater resistance to heightened oppression and exploitation on the Island as the tyrannical Duterte regime’s end is fast approaching. The fascist AFP must be punished for all violations of human rights and utter disregard of international humanitarian law and protocols of war.

We call on the finest sons and daughters of the people to emulate Ka Ella’s conviction of serving the people and the revolution. Join the New People’s Army and take part in advancing the people’s war to new and greater heights.

Long live the martyrs and heroes of the people’s democratic revolution!
Take Ka Ella and Ka Pabling’s place and carry forward the people’s war!
Join the New People’s Army!

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