Ka Do, Communist, Red commander, revolutionary artist

The Regional Operations Command of the New People’s Army in Southern Mindanao confers its highest revolutionary salute to comrade Prince Wendel “Ka Do” Olofernes, 34, who was martyred to the cause of national democratic revolution in service of the Filipino people.

Revolutionary forces around the region extend their deepest condolences to his family, relatives, friends, and fellow comrades as we mourn the early loss of a bold Red commander and a stalwart communist who served the Red army and the people’s war.

Ka Do was killed by fascist enemy troops on the morning of July 16, 2020 in the hinterlands of Brgy. Maragatas, Lupon in Davao Oriental. Unarmed and unable to fight, he was mercilessly shot to death, with his body, especially his back, riddled with several rounds of bullets.

Ka Do’s political awakening started during his involvement in the youth and student movement. Growing up in rural Davao Oriental, he witnessed firsthand the massive socio-economic inequality that burden the masses in the province, especially the extreme suffering of peasants in the hands of landlord families. Eventually, he came to understand how the country’s semi-colonial and semi-feudal system plunges peasants and the Lumad further into the peripheries of our society, while their landlord masters merry in riches gained from exploiting unpaid labor of others. Soon, he left college and pursued the path of armed struggle.

He performed various tasks in the Red army. For a long time, he was a political instructor and later commander of a guerilla front in Davao Oriental and contributed greatly in building the ideological and armed strength of the unit. Notably, he promoted the welfare of small-scale miners and helped establish the people’s line of defense to protect the resource-rich mountain range locally called Black Mountain against the entry of large-scale mining. He actively promoted the Party’s rainforestation drive and campaigned for the defense of the environment and preservation of biodiversity in the forested areas in their territories.

Ka Do died adamantly fighting the still-ongoing encirclement and suppression campaign of the AFP in the areas surrounding Black Mountain, which the fascist US-Duterte regime has declared one of its areas for focused military operations and routinely declared to be opened up for agro-industrial capitalist incursion. Aside from having Black Mountain earmarked for large-scale mining, the regime has likewise promised vast tracts of productive land to agribusiness ventures such as banana and oil palm plantations. The reactionary provincial government also eyes several areas in the gulf towns of Davao Oriental to be transformed into economic-processing zones. These ambitious, graft-ridden and environmentally-destructive plans are being confronted with strong opposition from thousands of peasants and Lumad who face the inevitability of being displaced from their lands and livelihood.

To counter this, only a few days after Ka Do’s death, the reactionary provincial government at the behest of the 28th Infantry Battalion launched “Oplan Maragatas,” a thinly-veiled counter-insurgency program under the US-Duterte regime’s anti-people NTF-ELCAC. Maragatas is a barangay in Lupon town tagged by the AFP to be a “hotbed of insurgency.” Oplan Maragatas is designed to provide convenient excuse to the relentless combat operations, with its attendant blitz of aerial assault and bombardment, and fiercely rein in the growing resistance of the masses in the area. Since January this year, and despite the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, AFP troops under the 10th Infantry Division have not let-up their forward deployment for combat operations in order to ensure the unhindered entry of the ruling class’s economic interests.

To the masses and comrades who knew and were endeared to him, Ka Do was deeply beloved for his quick wit and distinct humor. He had always been the one to crack a joke, ease down tension, and remind everyone to see hope in times of great hardships and sacrifices.

Ka Do was also a revolutionary artist who championed indigenous art and infused revolutionary principles into popular media such music and graphic arts. He would carve out wooden figures embellished with intricate patterns, and would gladly give his creations to comrades who wanted a miniature figurine of a Red fighter, a pendant for a necklace or an elaborately-designed pair of chopsticks. He wrote and sang a number of revolutionary rap songs, which gained a cult following among younger Red fighters and have been performed in cultural activities and educational discussions.

No matter how much the enemy paints him as a “terrorist,” for his family, comrades, and the broad masses, Ka Do will be remembered not only as as a young man with boundless talent who chose the hard life of revolutionary struggle but also as a hero who died fighting for the interest and welfare of the downtrodden.

A great cadre may have passed but his legacy and revolutionary spirit – enshrined in his songs and in our collective memories – would live on to inspire more patriotic youth and artists to take up the path of armed struggle towards a just future.

Ka Do, Communist, Red commander, revolutionary artist