The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas gives the highest honors to Kasamang Antonio “Manlimbasog” Cabanatan and his wife Kasamang Florenda “Osang” Yap, Party leaders and martyrs of the Filipino people. They were abducted, secretly detained, physically and psychologically tortured for months until murdered by state forces. Both elderly and ailing, they had retired from revolutionary work since 2017.
We condemn and hold accountable the fascist terrorist US-Duterte regime, its troops in the AFP-PNP, and Duterte’s military junta in the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict for the couple’s cold-blooded murder. Such is the brutality of the Duterte regime’s all-out war. Revolutionary justice shall hound the perpetrators of this gruesome crime until they are punished.
The revolutionary forces in Eastern Visayas recognize Ka Manlimbasog as one of the pioneers of the national-democratic revolution in the region. Beginning active revolutionary work as a student activist in the 1960s, he led the spread of revolutionary propaganda and founded progressive mass organizations among students and basic sectors in the Visayas until Northern Mindanao. He would be among the young intellectuals to heed the call to go the countryside and take upon the grueling task of sowing the seeds of armed revolution among the peasant masses. From then on he served the revolution until his death.
After joining the Party in 1971, he became a member of the Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee, its executive committee and secretariat. Leading the Samar-Leyte subregional party committee, he returned to his roots in Eastern Samar where he founded the first Party branches as well as in Western Samar and conducted social investigation among the peasant and fisherfolk. After his detention from 1972 to 1974, Ka Manlimbasog would return to lead the first district Party committee which led the first guerrilla front and squad of the New People’s Army in the island. He served as political officer of the platoon and was part of the command for operations of the NPA in the northern part of Samar.
From 1975 to 1977, tactical offensives by the NPA in the island intensified. Later, Ka Manlimbasog together with Kasamang Prudencio Calubid would lead the expansion of guerrilla warfare in north-eastern Samar, Northern Samar and north-western Samar. Throughout Samar, Party branches and revolutionary mass organizations grew and spread, along with anti-feudal campaigns, propaganda and educational work, organs of political power and NPA tactical offensives. Because these foundations were successfully laid, peoples war in Eastern Visayas grew even more in number and strength and by 1979 cadres, Red fighters, and rifles were deployed to relatively weaker regions. Eventually it would become one of the decisive forces to smite and topple the fascist US-Marcos dictatorship.
In the 1980s, Ka Manlimbasog held key positions in the Visayas and Mindanao Commission. He was also a member of the Central Committee of the Party, the Political Bureau, and the Executive Committee. He correctly stood for the Second Great Rectification and led the struggle against the opportunists in the Visayas and Mindanao. From 1990 onwards, he served as secretariat for the Mindanao Commission during the time of great advances in the revolutionary movement in the cities and in the countryside.
Ka Manlimbasog was a hunchback who stood tall among giants. His physical disability never hindered him from performing revolutionary work in the countryside up until his retirement. He was arrested thrice during the Marcos dictatorship but he always returned to the revolution. He went where he was needed, from integrating among peasants and fisherfolk, to breaking and entering haciendas, overcoming Samar’s mountainous terrain, and evading enemy operations. Able-bodied Red fighters, in awe of his determination, would carry him on their back during difficult treks. He was a shining example of selfless sacrifice and unwavering service to the people.
People who worked with him know his aversion to flowery, circumlocutious speeches. Especially younger revolutionaries, they appreciate how he diligently listens to them during educational discussions, politely correcting them if needed. Education, Ka Manlimbasog often said, should be direct and comprehensible to the basic masses.
The revolutionary forces in Eastern Visayas and the broad masses grieve for Ka Manlimbasog and for all other martyrs who were brutally and cowardly murdered by Dutertes armed agents. In the midst of the regimes fascist onslaught, they serve as inspiration to remain brave and persist with waging armed revolution. For those whom they left, they shall be our guiding light as we continue the just struggle to which they offered their lives.
Emulate the great example of Ka Manlimbasog and all revolutionary martyrs!
Down with the fascist terrorist US-Duterte regime!
Carry forward the peoples war until victory!