Ka Richard’s last call: advance our fighting tasks for the CPP’s 40 years
The Ruperto Tuyac Command (RTC), 5th Pulang Bagani Company of the New People’s Army-Southern Mindanao pays its highest tribute to Comrade Valerio “Ka Richard” Mante, Jr. We pay our highest respects to the people’s Red fighter, organizer, educator, writer and artist who spent the greater part of his life in service to the people. Whether in the open mass movement or in the guerilla zones, from the First Quarter Storm in the early seventies up to the present, Ka Richard was the essential revolutionary whose sense of responsibility and self-sacrifice knew no bounds.
Before Ka Richard joined the underground armed revolutionary movement, he was Bagong Alyansang Makabayan’s (Bayan) secretary-general. A soft-spoken individual, his speeches during rallies and pickets sought to educate the people. He could simplify intellectual discussions and theories so that people could immediately comprehend what he wanted to say. He was painstaking in his efforts to organize the middle forces while maintaining close contact with the basic sectors. He was at the forefront of the workers’ struggle in the late 1990s.
At the height of his popularity as a mass activist in 1998, Ka Richard decided to join the revolutionary armed struggle in the countryside. He was 48 years old then and wanted to do greater revolutionary work with the New People’s Army in the guerilla front. His age and his frail physique did not deter him from joining the much younger and healthier batch of Red fighters, mostly of peasant origin, in the rigorous life of arousing, organizing and mobilizing the farmers.
With his collective in the subregion, Ka Richard soon became a favorite instructor of the Pambansang Demokratikong Paaralan, (PADEPA), the Basic Party Course and the Intermediate Course. His presence in the front was very helpful in the ideological campaign of the Party’s Second Great Rectification Movement. As he was concerned with the welfare of comrades and the masses he listened patiently to everyone and was especially helpful to those who harbored any doubts or confusion.
He did not impose his authority but led by example. He had the patience to listen and had great respect for others’ views and opinions. To many, he was a teacher who never grew tired of educating and explaining and was always ready to answer questions regarding Party theories and the teachings of the revolutionary struggle.
He was open to a lot of new ideas and broke many stereotypes. He was proudly gay but this did not bar him from joining the armed struggle and proving to the comrades and masses that anyone who wants to serve the revolution can do so. He was not afraid to enter into a relationship and his was the first formal gay marriage in the region. His trust of the comrades and the masses brought him so much closer and dearer to everyone in the guerilla base.
On non-busy days, Ka Richard stayed in his post reading educational materials and writing. He had always encouraged the comrades to read and to study. He was a poet of the people and most of his writings depicted the plight of the poor peasants and farm workers. His stories celebrated the sacrifices and achievements of the revolution. His song entitled “sundalo sa kabus” is an all-time favorite of the peasant masses and comrades.
Ka Richard’s life is worthy of emulation for all young comrades, especially the petty bourgeois intellectuals from the city who would like to go deep into the folds of the masses and learn from them. Even with his age and at the constant threat of encountering fascist enemies, Ka Richard climbed mountains, traversed rivers and passed through difficult terrain, just to be with the masses. Weeks before his death, Ka Richard insisted on visiting one of the farflung lumad areas of the subregion to continue mass work there.
Indeed, the people will always remember Ka Richard; his life and his works will serve as an inspiration for everyone. On his very last lecture with the mass organization and the Red fighters in the front he said with great fervor that we must always continue with our revolutionary work and must advance our fighting tasks for the upcoming 40th anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines and onwards.
(Sgd) Martin Henares
Ruperto Tuyac Command
5th Pulang Bagani Company
New People’s Army-Southern Mindanao