On the occasion of the passing of Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria ‘Joma’ Sison on December 16, 2022, I publish for the first time, a poem I wrote in 1998 after spending a week with NPA guerrillas in Negros.
As the hills of Negros raced into a faint mist,
The faces of the people Left behind
Becomes clearer in my mind,
Etched forever in my memory,
Reminding me that the revolution is not to be forgotten,
Until the victory of the Masa is attained.
The Hukbo – they are a people forged
In the crucible of the struggle, women and men made strong by their commitment
To the cause of liberation.
They have survived the vicissitudes of living
The life of a guerrilla,
Surviving the twists and turns of the Party that leads them.
Women and men, they sleep in makeshift huts,
Barefoot and oftentimes in sandals,
Their feet and legs nimble as they negotiate
The mountain trails and streams of the countryside,
Sleeping with their AK rifles at their sides,
Vigilant of the White Army
Who can sneak in at any moment.
Their songs of longing –
Hopeful and sentimental as they pine
For the children, husbands and wives
They have left behind.
Their faces, gaunt with the wind and rain,
Their songs and stories,
Will always linger on
As onward they march towards victory.
Peasants, urbanites, and workers all,
They find common cause
With the Masa who toil the land,
Carving a living in the barren mountains
As their ancestors have done before them.
Soon the encargado of the land grabber will come
To collect their share of the fruits of their toil.
They have been pushed from the lowlands to the mountains
As greedy landlords grab their land,
Converting them to vast haciendas of sugar,
Until soon they will have nothing to till.
For then will come the mining TNCs,
Who will open their lands for gold or copper,
Destroying their environment –
Killing their birds and fishes,
And poisoning their rivers.
But the Masa have hope
That the imperialist onslaught will meet defeat
At the hands of the revolutionaries,
The Hukbo, who help them understand
The roots of their oppression,
Mobilizing them to fight back.
Soon the hills will reverberate
With sounds of guns and bullets,
As the White Army meets the Army of the People – the Hukbo,
An army who fights for a cause, and not to protect
The interests of the big landlords,
An army who will obliterate the imperialist scourge
And liberate the people!
Teodoro ‘Ted’ Alcuitas
: Hukbo – New Peoples Army (NPA), armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)
: Masa – the People
: encargado – overseer of the hacienda (large tracts of agricultural lands)
:TNC – Transnational Mining Companies