of condolence and solidarity
the occasion of the death of
is with deep grief and anger that we have learned of the death of Godofredo
‘Ka Paking’ Guimbaolibot, Ka Rolando ‘RJ’ Jubahib and two mining employees
last August 2, when they were brutally tortured and murdered by the Philippine
am personally touched and shocked, for I had the honor of staying ten days
with Ka Paking in a guerrilla zone in South Mindanao, in February 1996.
The fact that I dedicated ten pages of my book Kasama to this episode,
attests to the appreciation I had for Ka Paking.
I arrived in the village where I was to meet the New People’s Army, a man
stood waiting for me on a hilltop. He was wearing slippers, shorts and
a T-shirt, and he smiled broadly. Hardly could I imagine this humble figure
to be an NPA leader. But upon coming closer, I recognized him as Ka Paking,
of Green Guerrillas fame.
following days I had ample time to observe and talk with Paking. At 39
years, he had become an all-round revolutionary leader: understanding and
caring, guiding and stimulating. He advised lumad elders on their struggle
against the logging firms. He listened attentively to the comrades reporting
on the work of the organizing group in the village. He negotiated carefully
with representatives of a transnational corporation. He took time out to
talk with a young female student, on her first exposure visit to the countryside.
And he chuckled upon seeing his Red Fighters enjoy a basketball game with
the local youth.
Paking told me the story of Front 15: how it had been self-destroyed by
the militarist errors of the NPA in the 80’s, and how it was painstakingly
rebuilt starting 1992, the year the Second Great Rectification Movement
was launched. In four years’ time, NPA forces had increased tenfold. Paking
also told me the story of Rhyme Petalcorin, the NPA pioneer in South Mindanao.
Upon the declaration of martial law in 1972, this Davao City student went
to the hills, looking for the New People’s Army. He didn’t find them, until
il dawned on him that he and his companions themselves were the local New
People’s Army. Rhyme was martyred, as is Paking today.
thoughts of condolence and solidarity go not only to Ka Pakings many comrades,
but also to his family. When I was there, his son Ka Vergel was spending
his holidays with his father. He told me that for him, going to the guerrilla
zone was like a homecoming. In fact, that was precisely what I felt myself,
everytime I entered a guerrilla zone. What I felt were the warmth of the
camaraderie and the strength of the revolution.
are convinced that the life, struggle and martyrdom of Ka Paking will have
contributed a lot to making the revolution stronger, until victory.
the name of the Workers’ Party of Belgium,