Tribute to Kasamang Antonio “Manlimbasog“ Cabanatan
The lifeless bodies of Kasamang Antonio Cabanatan 74, and his wife Kasamang Florenda Yap 65, were found last December 26, 2020 in Barangay Botong, Oton, Iloilo. Kasamang Antonio, more widely known in the revolutionary movement as Kasamang Susing and Manlimbasog (strive) and Kasamang Osang were both retired from revolutionary work several years ago due to their disabilities and old age. It took time to confirm their identities because of disruptions in communication lines, intense military operations and the fascist US-Duterte regime’s widepread state terrorism.
Their killing is only one among the latest acts of evil of the fascist and butcher regime which carries out brutal suppression and killings because of its extreme fear of the invincible national democratic revolution and the inextinguishable national democratic aspiration of the toiling masses and Filipino people. To all Party and New People’s Army leaders, whether verified or suspected, the regime’s policy is “to not take prisoners,” to abuse and inflict harm without restraint. However, the cruelties inflicted on Kasamang Manlimbasog and Kasamang Osang were far worse. They were abudcted and secretly detained for several months before they were executed by the fascists by strangulation to turn their corpses into bloody trophies on the 52nd anniversary of the Party. Clearly, they were tortured and subjected to various forms of threat and brutalities to extract information from them and push them to betray their comrades and revolutionary principles. However, that they were mercilessly killed only proves their loyalty until the very end and the failure of the fascist monsters.
The Party strongly condemns the killing and barbarities suffered by Kasamang Manlimbasog and Kasamang Osang. The Party and revolutionary movement will not stop until justice is served. Their loyalty and sacrifice, as well as that of other revolutionary martyrs will serve as an inspiration to the Party to further strive in its efforts and struggles to overcome all challenges and difficulties, and to advance the people’s democratic revolution until complete victory.
The Party pays its highest tribute to the martyrdom, as well as to the loyal and selfless lifelong service of Kasamang Manlimbasog to the revolution. He started his revolutionary work as a student activist upon joining the Kabataang Makabayan in Cebu in 1967 and the Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan in 1969. He led in expanding the national democratic propaganda movement in Cebu, Negros Oriental, Bohol, Leyte, Samar up to Northern Mindanao. He led in establishing chapters of progressive organizations of the student-youth, workers, farmers, fisherfolk and other democratic sectors.
In 1971, he became a Party member and staff of the Regional Committee in Eastern Visayas (which temporarily covered Northern Mindanao) and its executive committee and secretariat. He led the Samar-Leyte subregion and stressed the importance of preparing guerrilla zones in the area. He established Party branches in Western Samar and Southern Samar which started social investigation and engaging the farmers and fisherfolk in the countryside.
A few days before Ferdinand Marcos imposed martial law in September 1972, he was arrested by fascist troops and detained until 1974. That was the third time he was arrested and detained. The first was in 1969 when he was arrested by the police in Leyte and detained overnight after entering a hacienda of a big landlord to investigate the conditions and complaints of the masses. The second was in 1970 when he was arrested by the police while walking in Quezon City and was brought to the ISAFP headquarters, interrogated and detained for a day. The fourth was when he was abducted and killed.
After his release in 1974, he immediately went back to the countryside in Samar to continue in leading the armed struggle. He served as secretary of the Party district committee which led the first guerrilla front and first squads of the people’s army in the island. Because of his resolutness even in the face of the enemy, he was reappointed to the Regional Committee and its Executive Committee.
Kasamang Manlimbasog never allowed his physical limitations to hinder him from taking on the heaviest tasks and working in the most difficult areas. After spearheading the strengthening of the first guerrilla front through the “few islands only” policy, he joined the expansion work in northeastern Samar, served as a platoon political officer and official of the operations command in the northern part of the island. He, along with Kasamang Prudencio Calubid, brilliantly led in expanding and advancing guerrilla warfare in northeastern Samar, northern Samar, and northeastern Samar. The intensification of tactical offensives and expansion of the army, spread of antifeudal campaigns and mass struggles, strengthening of propaganda work and political education, rapid expansion of revolutionary mass organizations, establishment of organs of political power, and the audacious broadening of membership of basic Party units in the village of Samar were important victories which served as a significant contribution to the upsurge of the armed and political struggle across the country that resulted in the isolation and ouster of the US-Marcos dictatorship.
He led in Visayas (secretary of the Visayas Commission, 1983-1985) and Mindanao (deputy secretary of the Mindanao Commission, 1981-1983 and 1986-1989; secretary of the Mindanao Commission, 1990-2012) during the period of big advances and victories in armed struggle, strengthening of the army, Party, revolutionary mass movement and the united front in the countryside and cities.
He became as a member of the Party Central Committee from 1980 and member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee from 1985 until his retirement in 2017. He also served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Central Committee in 1985-1986 and 2002-2016.
Kasamang Manlimbasog is respected for relentlessly and firmly advancing Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and the general line of the people’s democratic revolution through protracted people’s war. He firmly stood for the Second Great Rectification Movement in the 1990s and led in fighting and defeating the efforts of opportunist traitors to sow division and their anti-Party campaigns in Visayas and Mindanao. He continuously promoted the line of extensive and intensive guerrilla warfare on an ever widening and deepening mass support to foil several “oplans” and widespread offensives and fascist terrorism of the puppet state to overcome internal weaknesses and shortcomings such as the purely military tendency and military adventurism, conservatism, bureaucratism and complacence in ensuring and leading the stengthening of mass bases in barrios and towns.
He is an exemplar of simple living, humility and being self-critical. In writing and speaking, he is particular to the need to be simple, straight to the point and easily understandable by workers and farmers. He is opposed and always critical to airy and lengthy speeches. He actively pushed for studies and discussion on revolutionary theory within the Party and political propaganda and education among the masses.
Kasamang Manlimbasog and Kasamang Osang may not be with us anymore, but their revolutionary example and inspiration and those of other revolutionary martyrs will serve as a powerful weapon of the Party and each comrade in defeating the fascist terrorism and all-out war of the fascist butcher US-Duterte regime. Each comrade must learn and keep to heart their unwavering trust to the revolutionary strength of the masses and the leadership of the revolutionary proletariat. Through tireless mass work and arduous struggle, we will certainly overcome all difficulties, and the attacks and schemes of US imperialism and local reactionaries and fascists.
Honor the golden example of Kasamang Manlimbasog, Kasamang Osang and other revolutionary martyrs!
Hold to account the fascist butcher US-Duterte regime and its criminal agents and assassins!
Persevere in the path of the people’s war until complete victory!