Prudencio Calubid grew up in San Andres, Villareal, Samar. His family hailed from the upper middle peasantry and was able to set aside some funds to enable him to study in schools in the capitals of Samar and Leyte provinces. He studied high school at the Samar Trade School in Catbalogan and the Leyte Trade School in Tacloban City. He started taking up Political Science at Samar College in Catbalogan, continued with his course at Leyte Colleges in Tacloban and studied law at the same school after graduation.
It was in 1965-66 when he first became aware of the revolutionary movement. He was then working in Metro Manila as a collector. At that time, he became close friends with Ka Oscar, a fellow employee at the company who was also an organizer for the then fledgling national democratic movement. They held frequent discussions on social and political issues.
Ka Dindo had strong sympathies for the poor and the oppressed and an ardent desire to help them. He saw the need for revolution in his discussions with Ka Oscar. He felt strongly about this after witnessing the poverty and wretchedness in the lives of his relatives and townmates and the workers and urban poor he mingled with and befriended in the squatter’s area near the place where he was living in Manila. He became determined to wage revolution to help the people rise from their backwardness, bondage, poverty and oppression.
But because the revolution was then only in its initial stages nationwide, Ka Oscar advised Ka Dindo to return to his home province, go back to college, become active in the student movement and initiate and develop the revolutionary movement in this area. He readily agreed and soon carried out the suggestion.
Ka Dindo was like a hardy seed that sprouted and flourished in Eastern Visayas. In 1971, he continued his studies at Leyte Colleges and upon graduation,studied law just so he could have an opportunity to organize his fellow students and the people in the area. He immediately became active as a student leader upon his return to college. He organized students, teachers, friends, and even high school students at Leyte Colleges.
He joined many fora, campaigns and mass actions within and outside the college, and began arousing, organizing and mobilizing students, market vendors and jeepney and tricycle drivers. He linked up with the middle forces such as officers and members of the Rotary Club and Knights of Columbus as well as local businessmen in Tacloban who were won over to join people’s struggles against exorbitant taxes and electricity charges. Ka Dindo also led the first big mass rally in the city. For two years, Ka Dindo also worked as a commentator in a radio station in Tacloban where he broadcast patriotic, pro-people and progressive ideas and analyses.
Along with other advanced student activists, Ka Dindo established the Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan (SDK) at the school. He was soon elected to chair the SDK’s chapter in the city and became a member of its regional council. Amid political mobilizations, they conducted studies and discussions on Struggle for National Democracy and Philippine Society and Revolution.
He was recruited into the Party in 1971 along with two other student activists after taking up the Party Primary Course. The three of them were constituted as a Party branch assigned to Ka Dindo’s area. Ka Dindo served as the branch secretary. They immediately went to Ka Dindo’s town where they began organizing the peasants in the barrio and nearby areas. The unit was advised that it would be better if it could give stress in the future to organizing peasants in the interior towns along the Samar-Eastern Samar boundary where the Party planned to set up the first guerrila zone in the island.
But they lost contact with the higher organ when the cadre who was supervising them was arrested after Marcos suspended the writ of habeas corpus. Ka Dindo and his comrades continued their organizing work in their area with the general objective of reaching the more interior villages. At this time, the guerrilla zone they had organized already comprised eleven barrios in the towns of Villareal, Sta. Rita and Talalora. They were able to put up local people’s democratic governments under the barrio organizing committee in six of these villages.
The national democratic movement and Party organization rapidly expanded in the months after the Marcos fascist dictatorship imposed martial law in September 1972. Student activists from the schools in the town centers and nearby city swelled the ranks of fulltime forces. With a much bigger fulltime force, they were able to cover a number of villages nearer the interior.
The presence of a bigger number of comrades led to the establishment of an armed NPA unit. They began accumulating arms from allies, the masses, friends and relatives. In the last quarter of 1972, they had 15 people who were ready to form an oversized squad of the people’s army and had accumulated seven rifles, including an M2 carbine, two M1 carbines, a patented shotgun and a homemade shotgun as well as five short arms. Because they still had not reestablished contact with the higher Party organ, they tookthe initiative of launching the first-ever military training in the island and established the first unit of the people’s army in the island’s first guerrilla zone. They carefully expanded towards the hinterland barrios, covering 15 villages. They were also able to organize Party branches in a number of barrios.
When Jorge Cabardo, who used to head the Eastern Visayas Regional Committee escaped from detention, he was able to establish contact with and join Ka Dindo’s unit. He closely guided the unit, which began concentrating on establishing a guerrilla base from Villareal to the more interior towns up to the mountainous and forested boundary between Samar and Eastern Samar, in accordance with the unit’s original perspective. They were able to cover 40 barrios.
In 1973, they established the first guerrilla front in the island the Southwestern Front-under the Party’s fifth district committee that covered the southern part of Samar island. Ka Elliot, Comrade Prudencio Calubid’s first nom de guerre, was designated as committee secretary. At that time, he had become a fullfledged member of the Party.
By 1974, Ka Dindo’s unit was operating in many barrios in the towns of Villareal, Pinabacdao, Sta. Rita, Calbiga and Basey. That year, they were able to launch the first victorious tactical offensive against troops of the Philippine Constabulary Task Force Bulig in Sitio Nabutasan, Barrio Gimbanga, Calbiga, Samar under Ka Dindo’s leadership. They wiped out the entire enemy squad that was conducting patrols and seized the troopers’ firearms. The NPA force consisted of one squad accompanied by a relatively big number of militia.
In 1975, he was elected member of the Samar Island Party Committee and the Eastern Visayas Regional Committee. That same year, the unit under his command was able to launch two successful ambushes on a squad of enemy troops aboard and 6×6 truck along the highway in Pinabacdao, Samar.
In 1976, Ka Dindo became part of the leading core tasked with expanding and advancing guerrilla warfare in the northeastern part of Eastern Samar. Here, he was known by the nom de guerre Ka Baki. When Samar island was divided into two areas (the Northern Area and Southern Area), each with its own NPA operational command, he was designated commander of the Northern Area Operational Command (NAOC). He was also elected member of the Eastern Visayas Regional Committee’s Executive Committee.
From 1977 to 1980, he led the intensification of tactical offensives all over Samar island. He directly participated innitiating tactical offensives in the northern part of Samar province and establishing guerrilla fronts in Northern Samar. By then, the NPA in Samar had earned nationwide renown for achieving many victories in fighting the fascist forces of the enemy.
At that point, the revolutionary forces in Samar island had attained the capability to establish a battalion-size formation, which Ka Dindo proposed as a breakthrough move. But the Party Central Committee said that the people’s army in many other regions needed help to catch up and gain strength. Thus, the Party organization and people’s army in Samar provided assistance by dispatching personnel to the other islands in the Visayas. In the early 1980s, the Eastern Visayas Regional Committee sent many military cadres to Leyte, Cebu, Bohol, Negros and Panay who were a big help in breaking through several successful tactical offensives in these islands. Ka Dindo was elected member of the CPP Central Committee in its 7th plenum in 1978, and he attended the Party’s 8th plenum in 1980. He became a member of the Visayas Commission when it was formed in 1981. But with the commission disbanded soon after the arrest of a number of its members, Ka Dindo was briefly transferred to the National Military Staff before he again joined the Visayas Commission upon its reconstitution in late 1983.
From 1983 to 1985, he was based in Western Visayas where he continued to help strengthen the people’s army and invigorate the launching of tactical offensives. He led the regional military conference in Negros and the islandwide military training in Leyte in 1984. He also held consultations on military work in Samar. Because of his revolutionary work in both Eastern and Western Visayas, he became known as one of the leading military cadres in the Visayas.
In 1986, he was transferred to the Mindanao Commission as a member of its Standing Committee, where he remained until early 2001. He spent many years helping in establishing and consolidating guerrilla fronts in Far South Mindanao Region. He directly joined guerrilla units int he conduct of mass work, demonstrating by example the establishment of close bonds between the army and the masses and the conduct of step-by-step organizing. He also joined a number of tactical offensives to ensure their success. He also spent time supervising the Northeastern Mindanao and Southern Mindanao regions.
In early 1991, he led the island-wide inter-regional training of Red commanders under the Advanced Officers’ Course. Although he he was among those who promoted the premature regularization and verticalization of the people’s army in the 1980s, he never completely abandoned the correct principles and practice, especially painstaking mass work.
When the Second Great Rectification Movement was launched in 1992, he firmly adhered to it and completely repudiated the wrong concepts and practice he previously held. He was among those who led the dissemination of the lessons and rectification documents. He remained staunch despite the fact that several of his colleagues in the KRSK and the Visayas Commission like Arturo Tabara refused to rectify and in fact led anti-Party attacks.
Ka Dindo took part in the summing up of the revolutionary experience in Mindanao in 1993 where the correctness of the rectification campaign was demonstrated. He participated in Party education campaigns, particularly on the Intermediate Party Course and the initial studies on the Advanced Party Course which was held in Northern Mindanao, Far South Mindanao and the national level.
He was appointed in 1997 as NDFP consultant in the peace negotiations. He was a member of the Mindanao/National NDF Panel that held talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front from 1998 to 1999. He was one of the signatories of the first cooperation agreement between the NDFP and MILF in July 1999 in Camp Abubakar, Maguindanao.
Ka Dindo was appointed to the leadership of the Central Committee’s National Military Staff (NMS) in late 1997. As a leader of the NMS, he took part in launching several national and inter-regional military conferences, military trainings and projects. Among these were the inter-regional conferences in Luzon in 2001, in Mindanao in 2002 and in the Visayas in 2003. He actively supervised the implementation of the NPA’s national military campaign in late 2005 which reaped numerous victories for the revolution and frustrated the enemy’s Oplan Bantay Laya.
In all the places he visited and among all the comrades that he dealt with, Ka Dindo was considered a model proletarian leader and comrade in many respects. Many cadres, commanders and revolutionary forces and masses looked up to him.
He exhibited the qualities of a true communist. He always practiced the three democracies (political, military and economic). He greatly valued the wellbeing of other comrades more than his own. He never hesitated about giving whatever he could to those in need. If at times he tended to be liberal, it was always for the interest of others and never for himself. He had always tried to be objective and fair. He had an open mind and never allowed his personal interest to cloud his judgement. The people in an area Ka Dindo once visited remember one particular incident which started when his only brother was killed by somebody from a big family. He at first talked about getting even with his brother’s killer. But when he joined the movement, he initiated efforts to talk and reconcile with the killer’s family. He enlightened them on social realities and the need for revolution. Because the local people were aware of the events of the past, Ka Dindo’s actions strengthened their respect for him. The family which he forgave, enlightened and convinced to join the revolution produced many more revolutionaries and became greatly influential and instrumental in the growth of the revolutionary movement in the area.
Depite their long separations from him, his three children by Ka Jo have the highest regard and love for him. In the few times that they got together, he imparted to his children revolutionary ideas and good values. He patiently taught his children discipline but he never hurt them physically and was never verbally abusive. He always gently reminded them to finish their plates as many children and people did not have enough to eat. Even in an informal way, he always tried to provide them revolutionary education and explained to them the problems of society and the necessary solution. He shared with them his views about the big gap between the powerful and wealthy and the broad masses and oppressed people and the need to take the side of the people.
He always tried to explain complex matters in a simple manner. One of his children once disputed him on the reason why there was a big gap between the living conditions of the rich who reside in posh subdivisions and condominiums and the poor in the slum areas. Ka Dindo tirelessly explained and convinced his child that it was not because the poor were lazy but because of the ills of class society that gave rise to exploitation and oppression.
Ka Dindo believed that he may not live to see the resolution of these social ills but his children and grandchildren and many more people will continue the task of changing society to free the people from bondage, exploitation and oppression.
Ka Dindo was also known for his good relationship with and helpfulness to comrades and the masses. He had always shared such an attitude with comrades ever since he led units in Samar. This has been of great help to maintaining good relationships between the leaders and the led, and the people’s army and the masses.
He also firmly adhered to Party and army discipline which manifested in the iron discipline of the NPA units that he handled. Comrades always recalled how he took the rounds of all security posts and possible enemy entry points every morning at 4:00 whenever they set camp and made sure all comrades were alert.
The Party recognizes the numerous contributions Ka Dindo has made especially in military work. Among these was his leading role in the formation of the first NPA units and the establishment of the first guerrilla fronts in Samar island. Many NPA units had been trained and formed, and many guerrilla fronts had been established under his leadership. He lead many break- throughs in launching tactical offensives. He had trained many military cadres, several of whom have excelled in military work. Among them were the military cadres from Samar who were deployed to Leyte, Negros and Panay and helped achieve breakthroughs in successful tactical offensives in those islands in the 1980s.
On many occasions, his reputation in military work became the stuff of legend. Stories abound about his expertise and creativity in combat tactics, causing the enemy tremble upon hearing his name.
It has been quite some time since Ka Dindo’s abduction by the enemy, but the real legends about his life and his contributions to the revolution remain alive. The Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army and the entire revolutionary movement and the Filipino people salute Ka Dindo and the comrades that the enemy abducted along with him.