‘Women who struggle are women who can never be defeated’: Remembering the life of Kamil “Ka Alex” Manangan

Kamil “Ka Alex” Manangan was raised in a petty-bourgeoise upbringing and a native of Tondo, Manila. She studied Business Administration at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) where she actively participated in a young women students’ organization and engaged in political work among her fellow students.

During her organizing work in the urban area, Ka Alex quickly realized the necessity of the national democratic revolution and understood that armed struggle was the only means to fully liberate Philippine society.

She was among the many young revolutionaries who responded to the call of the Third Rectification Movement for the youth to join the armed revolution in the countryside. After attending the Party’s anniversary celebration in Batangas in 2016, she decided to stay in the New People’s Army for six months after which she  committed to becoming a full-time Red fighter under the NPA-Batangas Eduardo Dagli Command.

Due to her exceptional skills, Ka Alex quickly rose through the ranks and became a political guide within her unit. She participated in military operations, including a raid on Henry Sy’s security forces in Pico De Loro resort in Batangas. She disguised herself as an officer from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and served as a lookout. Ka Alex was happy and proud to have been part of this historic punitive operation against the Sy Family, owners of the Shoemart Malls and chain of department stores and one of the biggest comprador bourgeoisie families who grabbed thousands of hectares of land from the peasants in Batangas.

After this breakthrough experience, Ka Alex was assigned to do mass work where she served as a deputy political instructor for her platoon formation in the town of Lian. She led propaganda and mass education work within their area of responsibility.

Ka Alex’s city-life upbringing was totally different from the life of a guerrilla fighter in the countryside. Yet, she would often tell her comrades how all her physical exhaustion would suddenly disappear whenever she talked with the masses about their daily lives and hardships.

Her determination was tested once more in a defensive encounter in Barangay Lumaniag where she and two other Red Fighters, Ka Jessie and Ka Zac, got separated from their unit. She valiantly withdrew her two wounded comrades and ensured their safety. Undeterred by their predicament, she went to nearby houses of the masses to seek help. She did not know the masses in the area, but she used her propaganda skills and experience in mass work to gain their trust. The masses eventually decided to help them by giving medicine, food, lending clothes and providing a phone to contact the others for back up.

Ka Alex once again demonstrated her strength when the fascist AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) troops were closing in on the house where they were staying. She raised the morale of her wounded comrades by singing “Tigreng Papel”  (Paper Tiger) and repeatedly reciting the Party’s oath: “I pledge…to safeguard the security of the Party and all my comrades at the cost of my life if necessary…”

Even after her harrowing experience in the face of the enemy troops, Ka Alex showed no signs of retreat or regret. Her experience in the battlefield only further strengthened her determination.

When Ka Alex became a full-time Red fighter, she was elected as a member of the Party’s front committee. After a few months, she was assigned as a political guide for her squad and later as deputy political instructor for her platoon and logistics officer for her unit. Throughout her time in the NPA, she demonstrated exceptional zeal in political work both among the people’s army and the masses.

Ka Alex dedicated her talent and abilities to do painstaking mass work and touched the lives of hundreds of peasant families in Batangas. Despite being detached from her main unit most of the time, she masterfully fulfilled the tasks assigned to her.

As an exemplary revolutionary woman who gave up a comfortable life in the city to be with the masses she vowed to serve, Ka Alex will always be remembered as a hard-working, gentle, and forward-thinking comrade.  She will always be remembered for always quoting Mao’s words: “The women who struggle are the women who can never be defeated.” Ka Alex lived by these words until her very last breath. She was martyred alongside 13 others on November 28, 2017, in an encounter with the mercenary AFP-PNP troops in Nasugbu, Batangas.

Although Ka Alex’s time in the people’s army may have been short, her life carries profound significance for the masses she served. The strength of her commitment and enthusiasm for revolutionary work is an eternal source of inspiration for the youth and women revolutionaries who persevere in advancing the people’s war. #