People's Tribute to Leoncio Ka
Part I Part II Part III Part IV (Parangal) Part V (Funeral March)
June 29 - July 10, 2015
|Photos by Arkibong Bayan, BD, GM and LJ as indicated by the filenames|
TRIBUTE TO COMRADE LEONCIO PITAO
I join the Filipino people, the people’s revolutionary government, the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, the revolutionary mass organizations and other revolutionary forces in mourning the death of Comrade Leoncio Pitao (Commander Parago) and in celebrating his achievements from the time he joined the NPA in 1978 until his martyrdom yesterday on June 28, 2015.
It is fitting and proper that all of us accord him with the Red salute and the highest respect and honor for serving the Filipino people and the international proletariat. He is a great patriot, outstanding communist fighter and revolutionary commander. He has made significant contributions and the supreme sacrifice in the Filipino people’s democratic revolution for national and social liberation against foreign monopoly capitalism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism.
Comrade Leoncio Pitao (Ka Parago) was devoted to the theory and practice of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and applied it successfully together with other comrades and the people in Southern Mindanao Region. He excelled as a cadre of the Communist Party of the Philippines and as a commander of the New People’s Army. He adhered to the Second Great Rectification Movement and carried forward the building of the Party, the people’s army and the united front.
In advancing the people’s war, he integrated revolutionary struggle with land reform and building the organs of political power and mass organization. He applied the line of extensive and intensive guerrilla warfare on the basis of a widening and deepening mass base. He developed the closest of relations with the working people, the indigenous people and allies.
He had a mastery of the strategy and tactics of guerrilla warfare, flexibly employing concentration, dispersal and shifting, depending on the need in a fluid war of movement. He became known nationally and internationally for the revolutionary victories as commander of the First Pulang Bagani Company in the Southern Mindanao Region.
As a result of correct political line and his effective tactical command, this heroic and glorious company has grown into the First Pulang Bagani Battalion. According to the Southern Mindanao Regional Command, Ka Parago planned and commanded the countless disarming operations in the 1980s and 1990s, the capture of General Obillo and Capt. Montealto in 1999, the raid on the Davao Penal Colony and other many tactical offensives.
Ka Parago was captured in November 1999 and was put in solitary confinement in the ISAFP headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo. He was offered by the enemy a huge amount of money as bribe for him to leave and denounce the revolutionary movement. But he outrightly refused the offer and upheld his loyalty and commitment to the Filipino people and the revolution.
The lawyers of the Public Interest Law Center and the Department of Justice pleaded to the court for his release as a goodwill measure of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) in the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations. It was during this time that the Chairperson of the NDFP Negotiating Panel Luis Jalandoni and panel member Coni Ledesma were able to visit him and hold a press conference with him. Ka Parago was released from prison in 2001.
After his release, Ka Parago decided to rejoin the comrades in the countryside. And he continued to render outstanding service to the revolutionary cause of the Filipino people, especially in the battlefield. The enemy hated him so much that military agents abducted, tortured, raped and murdered his 22-year old daughter Rebelyn, a school teacher, and dumped her in a ditch in Panabo City in 2009. This barbarity became the subject of outrage among the people and human rights organizations in the Philippines and abroad.
Despite the abduction, torture, rape and murder of his daughter, he continued as a principled revolutionary to respect the policy of the CPP and NPA for according lenient treatment to prisoners of war as well as the International Humanitarian Law regarding respect for the human rights of the said prisoners. Exercising political wisdom, he went so far as issuing a statement to assure the families of enemy officers and men that there would be no retaliation on them. As a matter of justice under the people’s government, he sought out for punishment only those identified as the abductors and killers of his daughter.
So successful were the tactical offensives commanded by Ka Parago that prisoners were often captured. He and the Red fighters under his command used the necessary amount of force to achieve victory. But they were lenient and kind to the enemy officers and men who surrendered or survived the battle. The bodies of the dead were respected. The wounded were treated by NPA medical officers. The prisoners received the same food as the NPA fighters. They were released as soon as possible, as long as they were not liable for any serious criminal offense.
For an extended period already, Ka Parago had been ill with diabetes, hyperthyroidism, hepatitis and hypertension. He was under medical treatment at the time of his death. The comrades had advised him to take a leave for medical treatment outside his area of command but he insisted on staying close to the people. Investigation by the revolutionary authorities has established that on June 28, 2015 at 2:30 p.m., an enemy team raided Purok 9 of barangay Pañalum in the Paquibato district of Davao City, where Ka Parago was undergoing medical care, and that there was no encounter between units of the NPA and the enemy.
The enemy immediately raked Ka Parago with automatic fire upon sight of him. His unarmed medical aide Ka Kyle or Vanessa Limpag had the chance to raise her hands and shout that she was a medic. But she was mowed down by the enemy raiding team. The enemy has withdrawn the photo and video it previously published, showing the murdered Ka Parago in his homewear and barefooted, with two obviously planted Armalite rifles for photo takingclose to his and Ka Vanessa’s bodies .
The enemy in its propaganda is gloating over their brutal killing of Ka Parago and his medical aide. It is boasting that the revolutionary movement is “declining”. It is oblivious of the fact that before Ka Parago died he was able to educate and train so many revolutionary successors in 37 years of revolutionary struggle. In recent years, months and days, the reactionary armed forces and unwelcome foreign monopoly enterprises have been receiving lethal blows from the NPA in the Southern Mindanao region.
Ka Parago continues to live and fight for national liberation and democracy through his successors in the CPP, NPA and the mass movement. After his heroic martyrdom, his successors are inspired and are ever more determined to fight for a new and better world.
The reactionary armed forces have concentrated more than 50 per cent of their strength in Eastern Mindanao in the vain hope of defeating the NPA here since sometime ago. But within this area, the NPA has enough room for maneuver. The forces of the NPA are also taking advantage of the reduced strength of the reactionary armed forces in other parts of Mindanao and in the Visayas and Luzon in order to wage tactical offensives. These are not being reportedly fully by the bourgeois mass media.
There is no way for the imperialists and the local reactionaries to stop the growth of the CPP, NPA, the mass organizations and organs of political powers, because the crisis of the world capitalist system and the domestic ruling system of big compradors and landlords is ever worsening and the broad masses of the people detest the intolerable conditions of oppression and exploitation and are desirous of revolutionary change in the face of the ever worsening conditions of exploitation and oppression.
Long live the memory
of Comrade Leoncio Pitao!
|Widow of Kumander Parago and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte|
RED SALUTE TO KA PARAGO WHO LOVED THE MASSES AND THE REVOLUTION
July 2, 2015
“Long live the revolution! Long live the masses!” Dying words of NPA Commander Ka Parago, as enemy soldiers riddled him with bullets.
Ka Leoncio Pitao, Kumander Parago, joined the New People’s Army in 1978 after his father was killed by government troops in Loreto, Agusan del Sur.
He lived with the masses, loved them and sowed the seeds of the revolution in their hearts. He became known and honored as the protector of the poor and oppressed. The massses in the Southern Mindanao region fondly called him “Tatay, or Ka Ago”.
He became a legendary guerrilla fighter and commander, leading numerous daring tactical offensives against enemy forces of the reactionary Philippine regime supported by US imperialism.
Among his guerrilla unit’s outstanding achievements was the daring raid of the Davao Penal Colony in April 2007. Confiscated were five M16s, 45 Carbines, 46 Shotguns and seven .38 Caliber pistols. The tactical offensive was completed in 20 minutes, without firing a shot. The guards were surprised and disarmed. None of them was hurt.
In February 1999 he led in the capture of Army General Victor Obillo and Captain Alex Montealto. Commander Parago worked with the NDFP Negotiating Panel to cause their release to the International Committee of the Red Cross and government officials, Senator Loren Legarda, Secretary of Justice and GRP Panel Member Silvestre H. Bello III in April 1999 NDFP Chief Legal Counsel Romeo T. Capulong and NDFP Political Consultant Sotero Llamas were present for the highly publicized release.
General Obillo, upon his release, praised Commander Parago for according him and Capt. Montealto humane treatment during their captivity. At one time, Obillo said, he was given an alcoholic drink because he was chilling in the cold mountains, although NPA fighters were not allowed to have alcoholic drinks. Obillo further expressed admiration for Parago’s mastery of the terrain.
Parago was captured in November 1999. Ka Coni Ledesma, NDFP Negotiating Panel Member and I were privileged to visit him in prison in Camp Aguinaldo. Together with lawyer Edre Olalia, a press conference was held in the prison. During the press conference and conversations with us, he expressed his profound desire to go back to his beloved masses in Mindanao. He was released in recognizance in September 2001 to Supreme Bishop of the Philippine Independent Church, Tomas A. Millamena. His release was a confidence and goodwill measure to foster the resumption of peace negotiations between the GRP and the NDFP. These negotiations were about to be held in Oslo with the Royal Norwegian Government as the official Third Party Facilitator.
After his release he reunited with his beloved masses in Mindanao and reassumed his outstanding role in their revolutionary struggle. In the face of the escalating military attacks of the enemy against the people, Commander Parago led daring and successful NPA operations. The enemy’s hatred and fear of him intensified.
In 2009, government agents abducted, raped and murdered his daughter, Rebelyn. This did not stop him from continuing to fight the enemy. Despite his rage against the enemy’s vile act of rape and murder of his daughter, he adhered to the policy of the revolutionary movement to accord humane treatment to captives of the NPA and arrange their safe and orderly release as Prisoners of War, if they were not liable for serious criminal offenses against the people. But some of those enemy agents identified in the murder and rape of his daughter were subjected to revolutionary justice.
For some time it has been known to the comrades and the masses that Ka Parago has been ill with diabetes, hyperthyrodism, hepatitis and hypertension, and he could hardly walk. He was offered a leave to get rest and medical treatment, but he refused. He decided to stay and live with the masses.
He was undergoing medical treatment by medic Ka Kyle or Vanessa Limpag, when the enemy riddled Commander Parago with bullets. Ka Kyle was able to raise her hands and shout that she was a medic, but she too was razed to the ground. She died instantly.
In stark contrast to the humane treatment accorded by Commander Parago to General Obillo, Capt. Montealto and other Prisoners of War, the troops under General Ano summarily killed Commander Parago and his medic, Vanessa Limpag. Gerneral Ano and his troops are subject to investigation for violating international humanitarian law, CARHRIHL and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) for killing Commander Parago and Vanessa Limpag as hors de combat, among others. The units under General Ano, notorious for involvement in the enforced disappearance of Jonas Burgos, must also be investigated for extrajudicial killings of indigenous peoples’ leaders, the closing of Lumad schools, and encampment by soldiers of schools and other public places.
The National Democratic Front of the Philippines joins the masses in Mindanao and throughout the country, the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army and the organs of political power in mourning the death of the great revolutionary, the outstanding NPA commander, and people’s martyr and hero, Kasamang Leoncio Pitao, Kumander Parago. We turn our grief into revolutionary courage.
The revolutionary spirit and legacy of Kumander Parago lives on in the thousands of revolutionary fighters he has trained and the revolutionary masses in whose hearts he sowed the seeds of revolution. “Tatay to the masses he loved and served, his undying fighting spirit will be a beacon of inspiration for the Philippine revolution and the masses!
Mabuhay ang rebolusyonaryong diwa ni Kasamang Leoncio Pitao, Kumander Parago!
Mabuhay ang masa at ang Rebolusyong Pilipino!
Mabuhay ang CPP, NPA at NDFP!
Mabuhay ang Sambayanang Pilipino!
LUIS G. JALANDONI
NDFP Panel's Luis Jalandoni and Coni
visit Leoncio Pitao in detention at ISAFP, Camp Aquinaldo, 2001
Jun. 30, 2015
As usual, whenever government military are able to kill people as part of their campaign of terror in the countryside, an avalanche of lies are forthrightly dished out to the public for no other purpose than to mislead the people.
Having killed Leoncio Pitao, aka Kumander Parago of the NPA in a raid at a Paquibato village the past weekend, the military general who commands the military brigade unit that conducted the treacherous raid immediately announced that the killing was an offshoot of an encounter. The fact is it was not an encounter, but a raid.
And the same military officer, perhaps gloating on what he claimed as a big victory in the anti-insurgency campaign, said the NPA in the southern Mindanao region will soon be totally decimated. He considered the fall of Kumander Parago as a crippling setback on the part of the NPA organization.
Well, for countless number of times the military has proclaimed the near-total or total collapse of the NPA in the country. So many NPA commanders had been slain in various incidents and occasions since pre-martial law days. And instead of being totally demolished, the NPA has in fact grown to unprecedented breadth and depth among the masses of the people in the countryside.
The government and its military minions should realize that for as long as extreme massive poverty and social injustice prevail in the country, rebellion— or call it insurgency if you want—will continue to advance. The public is fed up with their braggadocio and lies.
And as Kumander Parago himself said, “This is not a war between the military and the NPA but the struggle of the masses for genuine change and democracy.”
Such words, coming from the genuine “man of the masses” should sink deep in the consciousness of the government officialdom and the military generals. And ponder on the lessons of history—a history of irrelevance, incongruousness, insensitivity, and outright anti-people policies heretofore pursued by the government since the birth of this republic.
This historical truism has been a constant writing on the wall: “Wherever there is oppression and injustice there is always resistance.” This is an unassailable universal truth which the policymakers in any society should memorize.
No amount of propaganda ploys, and lies and military trickery can hold back the phenomenal advance of the people’s war in the countryside. They may kill all the commanders of the NPA that they encounter in the battlefields. But sooner than the martyrs’ blood could dry up wherever they fall, countless NPA warriors and commanders will sprout up like mushrooms, because every drop of blood that is shed for a just cause fertilizes the people’s commitment to the very ideals they died for.
Kumander Parago’s death, at a time when he was not even an effective fighter on the field because of his failing health, is never a setback. It is, on the contrary, a phenomenal victory of the people’s war. It exemplifies the manifest selflessness with which the NPA warriors have pledged and dedicated their lives— not for the so called “good life” or luxurious lifestyle that the military commanders and soldiers aspire for in their careerist adventures for promotion and raised salaries — but for the liberation of the poor people from their age-old miseries.
People’s War is not for the NPA commanders’ personal gains as the Oplan Bayanihan is for thecareerist adventurism of military officers and enlisted men. This is the big world of difference between an NPA fighter whose service is not for any consideration for money or wage but the people’s cause, and the government soldier whose motivation is the money he receives as salary.
In the ranks of the NPA are men and women whose hearts throb with burning love for people’s emancipation from poverty. Among the rooster of army soldiers are men and women who have to resort to soldiery for employment purposes. The former are fighters for Change, the latter are mercenaries or killers for money.
The government soldiers serve the interests of the oppressors and exploiters. The Oplan Bayanihan’s peace and development is a misnomer. It should be renamed Security Agency for Foreigners (SAF). Indeed, wherever the foreign economic interests are – the proliferating mining operations of foreign capitalists—there the military troops concentrate.
But the poor government soldiers do not know whom they are serving and fighting for. Theirs is a happenstance ensuing from the need for survival and livelihood amidst their also-hard-up conditions. Theirs is a scramble for employment where there’s nothing society can grant mired as it is in a sorely underdeveloped condition. And when at last these rank-and-file soldiers got into the military service they are robotized to kill to compensate for their employment. Real mercenaries are they.
Of course, the ranking military officers have had their massive dosage of ideological conditioning from the US military establishment that serves and safeguards the interests of the US monopoly-capitalists who subjugate our country economically, politically and culturally. And the vicious cycle goes on and goes until the end of time. Unless. . .
Yes. . .unless the people’s cause prevails. And that has been the commitment and calling of Kumander Parago, of Vanessa Limpag the lady medic who was killed along with him, of all the NPA fighters and revolutionary cadres and activists now in the thick of the peoples struggle for genuine Change —“to let the people’s cause prevail”. They have the people’s welfare and well-being at heart. Nothing else.
The great divide that distinguishes
between Kumander Parago’s and Brigadier General Eduardo of the PA is the
irreconcilable contradiction between the people’s aspiration for Change
and the ruling classes’ preservation of the Status Quo. It is a
contradiction between a just cause and a rotten system.
Release of POW Gen. Obillo and Capt.
April 16, 1999
Ka Parago remained strong and vigilant under no less than five reactionary
New People’s Army
The Southern Mindanao Regional Command of the New People’s Army and the entire revolutionary forces express their deepest most profound salute to a great leader and warrior, Ka Parago or Leoncio Pitao who was killed in a raid together with guerrilla medic Ka Kyle on June 28, 2015 at 2:30 pm in Barangay Panalum, Paquibato district, Davao City.
Ka Parago was being treated for his diabetes, hyperthyroidism and hepatitis when the raiding team composed of the 6th Scout Ranger Company, 2nd Scout Ranger Battalion under the 1st Scout Ranger Regiment peppered him with bullets. Ka Kyle or Vanessa Limpag who was nursing Ka Parago had already raised her arms, shouting that she was a medic, when she too was razed to the ground by the military. She died instantly.
The Philippine Army must be very proud and happy to have killed a very sick man and an unarmed medic. They have no regard at all for the rules of engagement under the protocols of war as specified in the Geneva Convention and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law. They kill with impunity.
Ka Parago had served the national democratic revolution for close to 37 years. He spent the greater part of his adult life serving the people, in unstinting dedication to the cause of national democracy. As a Red commander, he led and trained so many young warriors in the art of guerrilla warfare.
From the countless disarming operations in the 1980s and 1990s to the capture of General Obillo and Capt. Montealto in 1999 to the raid of Davao Penal Colony and the countless tactical offensives mounted by the Pulang Bagani Company.
Ka Parago remained strong and vigilant under no less than five reactionary regimes, from the Marcos dictatorship to the current US-Aquino regime.
When he was detained in 1999 and the enemy offered him so much “reward money,” he never turned his back to the people and the revolution. He remained stalwart in his convictions and ever faithful to the communist spirit of defending the security of the revolutionary forces and the interest of the people.
Even when he was grieving and agonizing over the tragic death of his daughter Rebelyn who was raped and killed by military intelligence operatives in 2009, Ka Parago exercised political wisdom.
The people in Southern Mindanao remember him as their most beloved son who was always at their side, ready to help them solve their problems- -so unlike the AFP generals who do nothing but attack and burden the people.
He lived very simply. He was the exact opposite of the corrupt generals of the AFP. Ka Parago’s spartan life became an enduring example for every revolutionary who knew him or worked with him. As a matter of fact, for many years since the onset of his illness, he declined the Party’s offer of a sick leave. All he wanted to his last dying breath was to live with the masses and to serve them.
Long live the revolution! Long live the masses! These were the last defiant words uttered by Ka Parago—words that reverberate throughout the entire archipelago.
Truly he lives in the hearts of the people as we honor his death. Thousands of young revolutionaries who have been inspired by this great guerrilla warrior now follow in his footsteps. The masses and the comrades grieve his death, yes, but they turn his grief to greater revolutionary fervor as the people’s war goes on.
(sgd.) Rigoberto F. Sanchez
|Release of Leoncio Pitao/Kumander Parago on Sept. 14, 2001|
NDFP National Democratic Front of the Philippines
July 2, 2015
A tree falls but the forest lives
On behalf of the New People’s Army and all the revolutionary and progressive forces in Southern Mindanao, may we express our most profound salute to Comrade Parago (Leoncio Pitao) and to our medic comrade Kyle (Vanessa Limpag) who were both killed by the military on June 28, 2015 in Barangay Panalum, Paquibato district, Davao City.
They have served the masses with all their hearts and have given their lives to the cause of national democratic revolution. They are the people’s most cherished heroes who will inspire us to persevere in the struggle until victory is achieved. As Ka Parago defiantly roared at the very last moments of his life, “long live the revolution, long live the oppressed masses!”
May we also express our heartfelt condolence to the wife and children of Ka Parago who have endured the travails of being members of a family of a famous Red fighter. They have been constantly maligned, harassed and subjected to many atrocities by the military, including the horrific death of their young daughter/sibling Rebelyn. We salute your courage in your devotion to Ka Parago and the path that he had taken. We are one with you in your grief and shall assist you in whatever way we can and will always consider you as a part our growing revolutionary family.
May we also take this opportunity to thank the masses, allies and friends and acquaintances for their continuing support especially to those who in these long years of struggle, have stood by Ka Parago and the revolution. We call on them to pay their last respect to their friend and comrade who now lies in state at Cosmopolitan Funeral Homes and whose interment is scheduled on Friday, July 10, 2015.
Let us not be afraid to express allegiance to our friend and comrade who had constantly represented our aspirations and struggle for a just and better life. As we grieve the demise of Comrades Parago and Kyle, we turn this grief into an occasion to better understand and appreciate the challenges that lie ahead. We turn this grief into greater revolutionary passion and commitment. For as long as the basic problems of our people remain, the people’s war continues.
As the old saying goes, “a tree falls but the forest lives forever.” Ka Parago may have been gone but a thousand Ka Parago have risen.
(sgd.)Ka Simon Santiago
Media Statement of the North Central Mindanao Command
NDFP National Democratic Front of the Philippines
Red salute to Comrade Leoncio “Ka Parago” Pitao – Hero of the oppressed and exploited
All Red commanders and fighters of the New People’s Army in North Central Mindanao Region express the highest tribute to Comrade Leoncio “Ka Parago” Pitao in his final sacrifice to the people and the revolution. We empathize with the mourning of his family, relatives, and all cadres and members of the Communist Party of the Philippines, all Red commanders and fighters of the NPA, all allies of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and all the masses in Southern Mindanao Region.
Ka Parago, who has been sick for quite some time, heroically offered his life in an armed encounter in Paquibato, Davao City in June 28 against vastly superior troops of the Scout Ranger Battalion and the 10th Infantry Division. Another comrade, a medic, died with him in the incident. We express our sorrow for the loss of a beloved comrade who thought of nothing but serving the revolution and the people until his very last breath. For us, however, his revolutionary history is a legacy of undimming inspiration for the continuing advance of the national democratic struggle of the Filipino people.
Ka Parago’s spirit of Communist valor and selflessness serves as an example to all young commanders and fighters. For decades, he has spent the better part of his life in the revolution. He has commanded several victorious battles, the greatness of which is recognized even by officers and men of the reactionary armed forces of the ruling class.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines greatly detest Ka Parago and his Pulang Bagani Company. Several military operations were launched and massive mercenary forces were mobilized to pursue him. His family was terrorized in order to weaken his resolve and cause him to surrender. But with each such endeavor, they failed miserably. In their failure to defeat his Pulang Bagani, the enemy vented their ire on his family. His daughter was raped and murdered. Faced with these dirty tactics of the enemy, his determination remained firm. The enemy’s great loath against him was only matched by the warm affection from the peasants, lumads, allies and all the people he served.
These last few years, with his advancing age, his work has been limited by physical constraints. Several times he has been advised to continue his medication in a safe area outside the guerilla zone, but Ka Parago chose to be with the masses in the countryside of Paquibato. For him, his advancing age and failing health will not separate him from the masses and the struggle; not even hardships and danger, for even in his death, he knew that the aspiration for the victory of the democratic revolution and of socialism will remain alive.
The ruling classes and their running dogs are surely exulting in his demise. But they are mistaken in their belief that Ka Parago’s death will paralyze the revolutionary movement. They should wake up from their decades-old dream that the struggle will weaken with the death of a revolutionary Red commander. While the AFP officers are gawking at their bloodstained medals and promotions, and while the ruling classes are feasting with the death of a great revolutionary, they will be haunted by the specter of the Pulang Bagani Company, which has since grown into a battalion, and by the companies and countless guerilla platoons which will firmly follow Ka Parago’s footsteps in continually advancing the people’s war to the strategic stalemate stage and towards victory.
Ka Allan Juanito
|Gathering to welcome released Leoncio Pitao/Kumander Parago|