Highest tribute to Ka Laan and Ka Bagong-tao

Political Bureau | CPP Central Committee | Communist Party of the Philippines

April 20, 2023

With overwhelming revolutionary outrage against the ruling classes and their fascist butchers, we are informing all cadres and members of the Party, all Red fighters of the New People’s Army (NPA), all revolutionary forces and the entire Filipino people, of the death of Ka Laan (Benito Tiamzon) and Ka Bagong-tao (Wilma Austria-Tiamzon), leading and most respected leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the entire revolutionary movement in the country.

Ka Laan and Ka Bagong-tao were abominably and brutally murdered by the fascist monsters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on August 21, 2022, after they were captured while aboard two vans as they traveled towards the coasts of Catbalogan City. They were seized between 12 noon and 1:00 p.m. They were unarmed, not even with small firearms.

They were ten in all who were held, subjected to beatings and other forms of torture, before subsequently murdered. Along with Ka Laan and Ka Bagong-tao were Joel Arceo (Ka Divino, a subregional secretary in Eastern Visayas), Ka Yen, Ka Jaja, Ka Matt, Ka Ash, Ka Delfin, Ka Lupe and Ka Butig. According to the team who conducted the investigation, the faces of the comrades were shattered apparently by hard objects. Others showed clear marks of gunshot wounds.

To conceal their crime and erase all traces of evidence, the Joint Task Force Storm and the Task Force Trident of the AFP wove a story of a mid-sea encounter. In the early morning hours of August 22, 2022, the bodies of the murdered revolutionaries were dumped into a boat and towed to the middle of the sea before it was detonated somewhere between Catbalogan and Tarangnan island. Only eight bodies were reportedly recovered.

The Political Bureau and the Executive Committee received confirmation of the capture and killing of Ka Laan and Ka Bagong-tao a few days thereafter. Over the next weeks and months, a thorough investigation was conducted to piece the details behind this heinous crime.

We hold directly and principally responsible for the fascist brutality of the massacre of Ka Benito Tiamzon, Ka Wilma Austria and eight other revolutionaries the following: Ferdinand Marcos Jr, commander-in-chief of the AFP, Lt. Gen. Bartolome Bacarro, then chief of staff of the AFP, Gen. Edgardo de Leon, then head of the JTF-Storm and the 8th Infantry Division, and Brig. Gen. Marceliano Teofino, head of the Intelligence Service of the AFP. We also hold the US military directly involved in the crime through the Joint Special Operations Task Force Trident, a unit that is directly commanded, trained and armed by the US. Marcos and his cohorts must be indicted before the relevant courts.

True heroes of the Filipino people

The Central Committee declares husband and wife Ka Benito Tiamzon and Ka Wilma Austria as martyrs and true heroes of the Filipino people. They dedicated their entire lives to serving the opppressed and exploited masses and gave all their body and minds to advancing the aspirations for national freedom and democracy, socialism and communism.

From the deep recesses of the hearts of all Filipino revolutionaries, the Political Bureau and the entire Central Committee expresses their deep sympathies to the children and grandchildren of Ka Laan and Ka Bagong-tao.

Ka Laan and Ka Bagong-tao were masters of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and of the theory and practice of the Philippine revolution. Guided by Comrade Jose Maria Sison, they outstandingly led the Central Committee and the New People’s Army through almost three decades of waging protracted people’s war.

Ka Laan and Ka Bagong-tao were both children of the revolutionary upsurge of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Ka Laan was born on March 21, 1951 and grew up in Marikina, Metro Manila. Ka Bagong-tao was born on December 21, 1952 hails from Pasig City. They were both students of Jose Rizal High School. They entered the University of the Philippines around the same time in the late 1960s, became writers of the Philippine Collegian, and became members of national democratic youth organizations.

They both served as organizers of workers and peasants. Before being appointed to the central organs of the Party, both led efforts in advancing the revolutionary movements in various regions. From Manila, they were transferred to Cebu in 1974 to do organizing work among workers. They were transferred to Samar the following year to carry out initial social investigation and deepen grasp of antifeudal struggles among other tasks. In 1976, Ka Laan served as secretary of the Eastern Visayas region, while Ka Bagong-tao was deputy secretary. Ka Bagong-tao was among those who led the forces in Central Luzon during the early 1980s during which time the armed struggle and broad mass struggles of workers and peasants raged against the US-Marcos dictatorship. Ka Laan’s leadership of the revolutionary movement in Eastern Visayas was characterized by vigorous antifeudal struggles and armed resistance.

Ka Laan and Ka Bagong-tao played key roles in carrying out the Second Great Rectification Movement (SGRM) in 1992-1998 which reaffirmed the Party’s Marxist-Leninist-Maoist stand and basic principles, and strategy and tactics of waging protracted people’s war to carry forward the people’s democratic revolution. They superbly led the defense of Party Central Committee and frustrated the attempts of the revisionist traitors to lead astray or divide the Party. Through their leadership, they pulled the Party from the brink of dissolution and guided the Philippine revolution back to the path of advance and growth.

Through three decades, Ka Laan served as the chairman of the Executive Committee of the Central Committee in its day-to-day leadership of the Philippine revolution. Ka Bagong-tao served as the general secretary of the Central Committee. During the Party’s Second Congress in 2016, both were reelected to the Central Committee and to the central organs of the Party.

During the past decades, they performed their individual responsibilities, even as they served as partners in performing the difficult tasks of leading the Party. They worked side by side with the other leading cadres of the Party in the Central Committee, Political Bureau and Executive Committee, in serving as beacons of the people’s democratic revolution in the Philippines.

They led the drafting of the documents of the Central Committee and the Executive Committee which further enriched the theories of waging the people’s democratic revolution in the Philippines. The memoranda and directives of the EC-CC further elaborated and deepened the concept of the protracted people’s war and guerrilla warfare. They dedicated themselves to helping Party cadres tighten their grasp of the principles of waging people’s war in an all-rounded manner, and of the crucial importance of combining its three components–armed struggle, agrarian revolution and mass base building.

The writings of Ka Laan and Ka Bagong-tao now form part of the rich treasure chest of revolutionary theory of the Philippine revolution serving as its contribution to the enrichment of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. These will be collected by the Central Committee into one or several books to serve as reference for the Party’s cadres.

Ka Laan and Ka Bagong-tao were captured in 2014 and were imprisoned for more than two years. They were released in 2016 to serve in the negotiating panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in peace negotiations with the Duterte regime. When Duterte terminated peace negotiations and ordered the capture and killing of the personages of the NDFP, the Party and NPA, Ka Laan and Ka Bagong-tao immediately took to the guerrilla fronts.

Duterte spent hundreds of millions of pesos to pursue the headquarters of Ka Laan and Ka Bagong-tao and of the Central Committee since 2017. The regime carried out wanton aerial bombing and artillery shelling which caused gross devastation to the lives and livelihood of the broad masses supporting the revolutionary movement. Thousands of fascist troops were deployed in the enemy’s vile scheme to end the life of Ka Laan and Ka Bagong-tao and decapitate the Party.

The enemy may have succeeded in murdering Ka Laan and Ka Bagong-tao, but they have been frustrated in their aim of destroying the Party’s leadership. In the same way that when giant trees fall in the forest, the sun’s rays now passes through giving warmth and strength to the new pillars of the Party and NPA.

Strong collective leadership of the Party’s Central Committee

The death of Comrades Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria-Tiamzon, followed by the passing away of Ka Joma last December 16, 2022, are without a doubt, a great loss to the Party, particularly to the Central Committee. Neither can one deny the heavy impact of the death or demise of other leading cadres of the Party over the past years including Julius Giron (Ka Nars), Jorge Madlos (Ka Oris), Menandro Villaneuva (Ka Bok), Antonio Cabanatan (Ka Manlimbasog), Eugenia Magpantay (Ka Fiel), Mariano Adlao (Ka Panoy) and others.

However, during their period of leadership of the Party and Philippine revolution, they trained thousands of cadres and revolutionaries who now are ready to fill their void and take on the heavy tasks and responsibilities. Some may have gone, but in their place are far greater number of cadres and leaders who are determined to grow amid great challenges.

Led by the Political Bureau, the Central Committee and other leading organs of the Party were quickly reconstituted and revitalized. Replacement cadres were immediately appointed and are now performing the daily work and tasks of leadership. Without fear, they have accepted the challenges of leadership. The Central Committee continues to strengthen its work of guiding the leading committees and cadres in the regional committees and its other central organs. The Central Committee is exerting all-out effort to strengthen the Party ideologically, politically and organizationally.

On the initiative of the Political Bureau and Central Committee, Party cadres at all levels of leadership are collectively undertaking all-out efforts to raise their theoretical and practical knowledge of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, the Party’s basic ideological, political and organizational principles, and the strategy and tactics of waging the people’s democratic revolution through protracted people’s war.

Party cadres are leading efforts to sum-up experiences, overcome weaknesses and rectify errors. They are determined to carry out self-remoulding in accordance with proletarian ideology, guard against and repudiate erroneous ideas, improve the democratic style of work and put into criticism and self-criticism to practice as method to strengthen unity and improve their work. All Party cadres are ready to make heavy sacrifices while harnessing the strength of the entire membership to surmount all difficulties and challenges, and advance towards the path of a new revolutionary upsurge.

The Central Committee is now leading efforts to further strengthen the people’s democratic revolution. The entire membership of the Party are firmly united on the basis of the plans and tasks set forth by the Central Committee as contained in the directives issued by the Executive Committee. All Party committees have been tasked to arouse, organize and mobilize the masses and lead their economic and political struggles, in their fight against anti-people neoliberal policies, the enemy’s fascist terrorism and intensifying US intervention, and to build the broadest united front to expose, isolate and fight the US-Marcos fascist regime. The Central Committee has also tasked the New People’s Army to roundly frustrate the enemy’s all-out offensives, further expand and strengthen links with the broad peasant masses, thoroughly galvanize antifeudal struggles, expand, strengthen and increase the number of mass organizations in the countryside, and stoke and scatter the flames of guerrilla warfare.

The Central Committee is currently strengthening the Party organization in accordance with the principle of democratic centralism. Collective leadership is being fully strengthened at all levels. Rules and discipline are firmly being observed. To build unity, efforts to hold regular meetings and conferences are being carried out in earnest. Policies and directives are firmly implemented to order that the entire Party marches as one body. Leading Party committees regularly and promptly submit reports to the higher organs. At all levels of leadership, the work at the lower levels are closely supervised alongside the situation masses.

In the face of the worsening crisis of the semicolonial and semifeudal system and gross suffering, exploitation and oppression under imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism, the broad masses of the Filipino people are strongly determined to persevere in revolutionary struggle. The Party is resolved more than ever to arouse, organize and mobilize the broad masses of the Filipino people, and lead the revolutionary armed struggle and revolutionary mass movement across the country.

Guided by Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and by strengthening collective leadership and the unity of all patriotic and democratic classes, it is with certainty that our great Party together with the Filipino people will carry forward the national democratic revolution to greater heights and attain even bigger victories in the coming years.

Inspired by the memories of Ka Laan, Ka Bagong-tao, Ka Joma, and all great martyrs and heroes of the proletariat ang Filipino people, let us give all our energy to shoulder the difficult tasks in advancing the aspirations for genuine freedom, democracy and socialism.

Long live the memories of Ka Benito Tiamzon and Ka Wilma Austria!

Wave high the red banner of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism!

Fight for national freedom and democracy!

Persevere on the path of the national democratic revolution and its socialist future!

Carry forward the protracted people’s war!

Long live the New People’s Army!

Long live the Communist Party of the Philippines!

Long live the toiling masses and the Filipino people!