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HomeSpecial Report: Carabalan via Buenavista: The tale of Larangan Gerilya Dos (Part...

Special Report: Carabalan via Buenavista: The tale of Larangan Gerilya Dos (Part 2)

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It was the monsoon season when a group of armed guerrillas sang in low voices the Filipino version of the Internationale, the song of Communist Parties across the world.

Wala tayong maasahan
Bathala o manunubos
Kaya ang ating kaligtasan
Nasa ating pagkilos

The singing came at the end of a short program to mark the opening of a new larangan gerilya, a guerrilla front then known as an expansion area of the Regional Executive Committee-Regional Committee of the Communist Party in Negros – known as the “KT-KR” among urban Red forces.

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Ito’y huling paglalaban
Magkaisa ng masaklaw
Ng Internationale ang sangkatauhan
Ng Internationahahal ang sangkatauhan

That was the last stanza of the song, a cue for the raising of fists, a salute to the revolution and a pledge to the victory of the proletariat no matter the cost.

This writer counted at least 12 in all.

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At least 25 long years ago.

Among the fists were those of two rebel brothers – Ka Wenly and Ka Tamong – both battle-hardened veterans of the New People’s Army, the Sisonites or “Reaffirmists” who sided with exiled Communist Party founder Jose Maria Sison.

“Mayo gid Ka kay kakadto kamo (It is great, comrade, that you are here),” Ka Wenly said as he shook this writer’s hand and adjusted the two-point strap on his AR15 carbine with an M203 grenade launcher.

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It was Wenly’s favorite carbine with a wire cutter device on the muzzle.

He smiled and gave this writer a quick hug. It was our second time to meet after about a year when we interviewed him and former priest Frank Fernandez alias Ka Kanor in the uplands of Guihulngan City in Oriental Negros.

Wenly, his comrades said, headed the “Tiger unit” of the NPA that operated in the south of the province in the late 80s to early 90s.

The Tiger unit was part of the “innovations” suggested by the finance committee of the KR in Negros to shore up finances as “revolutionary” taxation was affected by the intensified military campaign under the Corazon Aquino government that unleashed an all-out war policy against the Reds.

It was only later that the writer knew that the NPA unit guarding Fernandez, an undersized company by rebel standards, was the center of gravity of Larangan Gerilya Uno (One).

Known in Hiligaynon as the Sento De Grabidad Yunit Gerilya (SGYG), it was both the protective armed cocoon of the rebel leadership led by Fernandez, and the regional strike force.

Wenly and Tamong were among the 20 or so guerrillas under the SGYG headed then by Ka Guzman, a veteran fighter once under the Heavy Weapons Unit of Ka Mao Tse, a grizzled fighter who had a missing finger on his right hand and always wore leather gloves when on patrol.

Underground sources said Mao Tse was killed more than 10 years ago in a raid that he led in a paramilitary detachment in an upland village of Guihulngan town.

A mananggiti or a coconut sap gatherer saw the NPA unit on a final recon of the detachment and promptly told soldiers.

Mao Tse, the sources added, tried to hold off the State troopers who repulsed their raid.

Wenly and Tamong, on the other hand, were killed in southern Negros Occidental in the late 90s along with other members of the Rebolusyunaryong Hukbo ng Bayan (RHB), a third wing of the Communist Party split in the 1990s.

Two weeks ago, on 6 October 2022, a clash between soldiers of the 94th Battalion and a unit of the New People’s Army sparked a week-long series of firefights that led to three people killed, six others wounded, and the fleeing of thousands of civilians to evacuation centers near the poblacion.

On 11 October 2022, Camp Gerona – the brigade that commands thousands of soldiers including the 94th – confirmed the death of Romeo Nanta alias Juanito Magbanua, the top rebel commander who heads the operations of the New People’s Army in the island.

(To be continued)

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Julius D. Mariveles
Julius D. Mariveles
An amateur cook who has a mean version of humba, the author has recently tried to make mole negra, the Mexican sauce he learned by watching shows of master chef Rick Bayless. A journalist since 19, he has worked in the newsrooms of radio, local papers, and Manila-based news organizations. A stroke survivor, he now serves as executive editor of DNX.
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