FilAm Women Remember Rebelyn On Rebelyn Pitao’s 21st birthday, GABRIELA-USA remembered the life of the slain daughter of a New People’s Army commander, Leoncio Pita known popularly as Commander Parago. The abduction and murder of Rebelyn by armed men is characteristic of past executions linked to the Philippine government and the military. With so much of Philippine politics swirling around the maltreatment and downright abuse of Filipino women and their rights (namely the controversial Nicole case and the Visiting Forces Agreement), FilAm women are moved to look to Rebelyn’s life as a teacher, daughter, woman and friend to claim her life as evidence of a guilty and corrupt administration only looking to silence its people. “Rebelyn, among so many other Filipino women, was unnecessarily taken by a fear mongering government in the name of insecurity,” Melanie Dulfo the poet who wrote the below poems in Tagalog and English on behalf of GABRIELA-USA, “In the endlessly rotten administration of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, it’s the ordinary people that get hurt. But we will not forget their lives and remember them in our art and work even across the oceans.”
*trapo= a dirty rag; in colloquial use, a traditional politician, KAY REBELYN Rebelde. Rebelyn. Baka nagkamali sila. Inisip na, komo, Sintinig ang pangalan mo Ng kinatatakutang uri Sa lipunan nating lubog Sa dumi at basura (Ni ‘di malinis ng mga Sandaan trapong nagkalat) Eh, dapat ka nang paslangin. Rebelyn, Rebelyn, Nabulag kaya sila? Inakalang banta ka Sa buhay nila, Ikaw na babae, Ikaw na guro, Ikaw na biente anyos pa lamang? Kaya ka ba nila pinaslang, Rebelyn? Kaya ka ba nila pinahirap Kasi akalang armas ang lapis mo? Rebelde ka, Rebelyn? Anong klase, Kung ganun? Ikaw ba ang Rebeldeng Ibinuhos ang dugo At buhay Para patalsikin Ang mga Kastila, Ang mga Amerikano, Ang mga Hapon, Si Marcos, at Si Erap? Ikaw ba ang rebeldeng Napagod lang Sa kalokohang ipinamumukha Sa sambayanan? Iyung tipo na Hindi tatahimik, Na hihiyaw, Sa pagnanakaw ng mga Panginoong maylupa, Ng mga korporasyong Nagmula sa ibayong dagat? Ikaw ba ang rebeldeng Nagsabi na, “May ibang paraan Para mabuhay. May ibang klaseng buhay. Hindi lamang ang paghihirap At pagdurusa Ng tumataas na tuition, Tumataas na bilihin, Tumataas na pamasahe, Ngunit walang taas Ng sahod. . Pag-iibang bansa, Kawalan ng trabaho, At kawalan ng sariling lupa” ? Kung gayon, Kung gayon. Dapat silang matakot. . Ang mga hindi tatahimik, Ang mga ordinaryong tao Na siyang itinataas Ang kanilang kamao Sa galit, Ang nagpapakita sa lahat Ng katotohonan: Na tayo’y nasa gitna Ng isang kotradiksyon, Sa araw-araw Na inaapakan Ang simpleng dignidad Ng naghahanapbuhay, Ng mga magsasaka, Ng mga manggagawa. Ng kabataan, Ng kababaihan. Sila ang pinaka-makapangyarihang Rebelde, Rebelyn. Ang mga ordinaryong tao Na ito, Ang siyang tinatawag mong Bayan. . Ikaw ang pinaka-makapangyarihang Rebelde, Rebelyn. Ang siyang walang ginawa Kundi ang panindigan Ang kanyang pagkatao, Nagsisilbing ilaw Sa iyong ama. FOR REBELYN Rebel. Rebelyn. Maybe, they made a mistake. Thinking that Your name marked you As one of those feared In our society that’s been steeped In dirt (Something even The trapos could not freshen up), They should kill you. Rebelyn, Rebelyn, Did they go blind? Assumed you were a threat To their lives— A woman, A teacher, Someone who was 20 years old? Is that why they killed you? Is that why they tortured you? Because they thought your pen was a sword? You’re a rebel, Rebelyn? What kind Would you say? Are you The rebel Who gave up Her life To drive out The Spaniards, The Americans, The Japanese, Marcos, and Erap? Are you the rebel Who was just tired From the lies Offered to the people? The type who Would never be silenced, Who would scream, At the depredations Of the landed elite, Of the multi-national Corporations? Are you the rebel Who said, “There is another way To live. There is a different kind of life From the one we lead now, With no choice But to accept the tuition hike, The rice crisis, The energy crisis, Without a rise In wages for ten years. No choice but to migrate. Because there are no jobs, And there is no land”? Then, Then, They should quake and tremble. For, those who will not stay silent, Those ordinary people Who raise Their fists In anger, Prove That We are stuck In a contradiction As every day, Simple human dignity Is crushed under a heel. The dignity of those who just want to live, Farmers, Workers, Youth, Women. They are the strongest Rebels, Rebelyn. These ordinary Folk, Whom you call The people. You are the strongest Rebel, Rebelyn, The one whose only crime Was to affirm Her humanity, By living as a light To your father.