Hold high the valiant revolutionary life and struggle of Comrades Mark “Ka Melby” Yocogan and Jan Michael “Ka Simon” Ayuste

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The Chadli Molintas Command (CMC)-NPA Ilocos Cordillera Region and the whole revolutionary movement in the region express our heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of Comrades Mark “Ka Melby” Yocogan and Jan Michael “Ka Simon” Ayuste, who were mercilessly slain by the elements of the 69 IB and the RMF-PNP on the dawn of Oct. 30, 2021 at Barangay Gueday, Besao, Mountain Province. Their bodies were riddled with bullets. We are raging with class anger over this latest incident of overkill, depicting the regime’s fascism and ruthlessness. We salute their selfless devotion to the revolutionary cause and offering the ultimate sacrifice for the exploited and oppressed masses.

Ka Melby, or Ka Corel as he is known in other parts of Mountain Province and Ifugao where he served as a Red fighter and eventually became a Red commander, is one of the many best sons of the Cordillera. Born and raised in Sagada, Mountain Province, he is remembered as a loving son and a bright student. Even if he was raised in a middle-class family, he was close to his peasant origins. He has been a long-time activist, fighting for the rights of the national minorities. Instead of choosing to live a comfortable life through running their family’s properties, he devoted the prime years of his life in fighting for the good of the oppressed and exploited masses. With his deep grasp of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, he knew that there can be no progress and prosperity for all as long as the current rotten semifeudal and semicolonial system remains unchanged. As his commitment to the people’s cause deepened, he decided to join the New People’s Army in 2014. As a Red fighter, he is fondly remembered by fellow Red fighters as a soft-spoken comrade yet an untiring propagandist and educator. He is also known as an enthusiastic organizer, able to explain issues and revolutionary principles in the simplest forms which can be easily understood by the masses. His deep understanding of the particular characteristics and problems of the peasant national minorities enabled him to lead his unit in effectively conducting social investigation and mass work among the masses in areas where his unit operated. He developed as a Red commander of the Leonardo Pacsi Command (LPC)-NPA Mountain Province. He has been one of the key cadres in the unit’s conduct of expansion work in other parts of Mountain Province. As a revolutionary husband and father, he has been steadfast in building a revolutionary family.

Ka Simon, on the other hand, is an outstanding activist from the urban youth who decided to live with the peasant masses in the countryside and became a courageous Red cadre. A high school valedictorian and college graduate, he could easily have chosen to work for his own gain and serve the current rotten system. Instead, he selflessly dedicated his youth, energy and intellect for the revolutionary task of arousing, organizing and mobilizing the peasant masses in advancing the national-democratic revolution to liberate them from feudal and semifeudal exploitation. He joined the New People’s Army in 2017 and rapidly developed as a politico-military officer. A down-to-earth intellectual, he persevered in learning from the masses to broaden his knowledge on the particular characteristics of the peasant national minorities from the various tribes and communities where his unit operated. He is thus well-known and loved by the masses as an astute educator, enthusiastic organizer and tireless Red fighter. His calmness, courage and performance in battles was also commendable. Overall, he exemplified the revolutionary vigor and enthusiasm of the patriotic youth.

The CMC denounces the heartless overkill of Ka Melby and Ka Simon, done inside the residential area of the Gueday community belonging to the Agawa tribe of Besao, Mountain Province. The fascist attack mounted against them at the doorstep of a peasant’s house and riddling them with bullets is an utter disregard of the security and safety of civilians during armed engagements. This is also a grave violation of Igorot tradition of respecting abodes, which necessitated the concerned community and the concerned residents to launch a costly cleansing ritual. Aside from this, this act also caused intense trauma to the residents, especially the children. The fascist regime may be rejoicing and celebrating this “victory”, but they only earned the people’s ire and disgust.

While the Duterte regime shamelessly wastes the people’s money in their bloody counter-insurgency campaign, the people’s needs and destitute plight especially in this period of the Covid-19 pandemic, are being sadly ignored. Since 2019, the people of Mountain Province and neighboring provinces of Benguet, Ifugao, Abra and Ilocos Sur have been suffering from militarization and aerial terrorism. This further worsened with the deployment of RCSP teams in the various barangays of Sagada, Besao, Tadian, Bauko, Bontoc and neighboring Tubo, Abra and Quirino, Ilocos Sur. This is aside from the fact that due to the militarist measures imposed by the regime in dealing with the pandemic and calamities, the people’s livelihood have been severely affected, aggravating the poverty that they have long been suffering. Four (4) Philippine Army battalions (81 IB, 54IB, 69IB, 71IB including the 71DRC), with the addition of SAF and RMF troops of the PNP, are currently deployed in Mountain Province and neighboring areas.

Contrary to the AFP’s claims that they are ‘right on target’ in crushing the NPA, they cannot stop the spread and advance of the revolutionary armed struggle in the Ilocos-Cordillera Region and the whole country. The AFP-PNP is terribly wrong in its fascist and deranged mindset that inflicting blows among the ranks of the NPA through the killing of NPA members, leaders and supporters and its fake surrender campaign would be the solution in ending this long-standing civil war. For as long as the roots of the armed conflict are not addressed and resolved, the flames of the revolution will continue to burn and turn into a massive conflagration no matter how many revolutionaries fall. Many more Ka Melby and Ka Simon shall continue to take up arms and wage armed struggle, until total victory of the national-democratic revolution is achieved and socialism is established.

Hold high the valiant revolutionary life and struggle of Comrades Mark “Ka Melby” Yocogan and Jan Michael “Ka Simon” Ayuste