Women Red fighters, especially mothers, are an inspire their fellow women to fight and liberate themselves. Ka Lori is one of them. She is a mother and a Red fighter in a unit of the New People’s Army in Bicol.
Despite the pain of having to leave her children behind, she decided to join the people’s army in 2018 at the age of 47. Most of her children are already grown-ups, although her youngest is just seven years old. They respected her decision to serve as a full-time member of the people’s army. This was not new to them as their mother used to participate in community activities as a member of a local Party branch. Her aspiration for a caring society for her children and grandchildren inspired her to participate in the armed struggle.
“I saw that we can trust this (the Party). This is the government of the poor,” she said.
Ka Lori hailed from the peasant class. She and her family made a living primarily from processing coconuts into copra. On average, she would earn P150 a day from unhusking coconut one thousand coconuts. Her wage is only half of what male copra farmworkers earn. The amount was way too low to feed her family and pay for other basic needs.
Struggling to make ends meet, she had to peddle vegetables and fish in nearby barrios. Loan payments are then deducted from her already meager income. She raised her children practically by herself as she and the father of her children fell out. Five of her children worked in Manila although they were not of age yet. Ka Lori had been beset with worry and anxiety because of this.
Upon joining the people’s army, she served as a supply officer and was tasked to manage the kitchen. As a Red fighter for two years, she also performed many other tasks including the facilitation of educational discussions and meetings. She also consciously gives moral support to her comrades in the unit.
Ka Lori inspired her children to join the NPA as well. Months after she joined, her son Ka Tom followed. Ka Tom previously worked in Manila as a contractual construction worker. On the next year, her son Ka Ali also joined the armed movement. Ka Ali previously worked at a piggery in Pampanga. As a family, they are striving to struggle to overcome feudal family practices.
Ka Lori treats her children as comrades and respects their decisions. Although worried, she supports her children in performing various tasks assigned to them. These include military, training and mass work in distant areas.
More than family, they treat each other as comrades and partners in strengthening the people’s army. The two are not exempt from their mother’s criticism and vice versa. “Turn away from your old ways, gradually remold and follow the people army’s policies,” she always reminds her children. They care for each other in the same way they support other Red fighters. They call on their other family members to also join the NPA.
There are times when Ka Lori worry about her younger children. Although pining for them, she knows that they are taken cared of by Party members in their barrio.
The local Party branch supports her family and provides them with some financial aid to help them survive. The NPA unit where she belongs also prepares and facilitates her contact and visit to her family. “My endeavors are for you… for your future,” Ka Lori tells her children.