By the Communist Party of the Philippines
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), the New People's Army (NPA) and the entire revolutionary movement give the highest salutation to retired Capt. Danilo "Da Dan" Vizmanos, staunch anti-imperialist and democratic intellectual, loyal servant and activist of the people, a true soldier and hero of the revolution and the Filipino people. Ka Dan succumbed to prostate cancer on June 23 at the age of 73.
Ka Dan served as a brilliant example of a fascist military officer who forsook and denounced imperialism and the reactionary puppet state and its fascist army. Ka Dan wholeheartedly embraced democratic and revolutionary aspirations, completely sided with the revolution and the people and immersed himself in their struggles. He was a paragon of strong conviction, honesty, industry, determination, humility and closeness to comrades and the people. The Filipino people accord him the greatest honor.
Ka Dan belonged to the first group of officers of the reactionary and puppet Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) that renounced imperialism, bureaucrat capitalism, feudalism and fascism, and completely transformed themselves into revolutionary and progressive fighters of the mass movement.
He underwent imperialist and reactionary education and military training and at one time adhered to such teachings. After the Second World War where Ka Dan was a member of the ROTC-Hunters, a guerrilla force composed of youth who resisted the Japanese invasion, he studied at the US Merchant Marine Academy at Kingspoint, New York, USA. Upon his graduation in 1950, he was immediately commissioned by the Quirino regime as an officer of the Philippine Navy. The reactionary state was then concentrating the bulk of its armed forces, including the navy, on crushing remnants of the Hukbong Mapagpalaya ng Bayan. Ka Dan thus took part in "counterinsurgency operations."
Even though Ka Dan was part of an organization that rabidly defended the reactionary system, he was not narrow-minded, nor were his orientation and actions mercenary, militarist and reactionary. He was a critical thinker, a pursuer of truth, was principled, loyal, loving and solicitous and humble before other people and the masses. He was infuriated by the deceptions, corruption and oppression perpetrated especially against ordinary, poor and innocent people.
In the 20 years that he was within the puppet and reactionary army, he witnessed firsthand the army's extreme rottenness and brutality and utterly fascist and antipeople stance. Through intensive studies, he came to grasp the true character of the reactionary military as the main instrument of the exploitative and reactionary ruling class in repressing the people.
Even during his early days within the reactionary and puppet army, he would usually recount, in letters to his parents, his disgust at the conduct of government soldiers, who, while launching so-called "counterinsurgency operations" were drunk, indiscriminately fired their weapons day and night and ruthlessly threatened civilians. In all his writings, be they personal letters, books or articles, Ka Dan was strongly critical of the increasingly corrupt, fascist and antipeople behavior of the reactionary and puppet army. He relentlessly exposed and denounced the fascist Marcos dictatorship and succeeding regimes with their "all-out war" against the revolutionary forces and the people.
When he was assigned to the AFP Office of the Inspector General and deployed in Vietnam in the mid-1960s to supervise the activities of the Philippine Civic Action Group (Philcag)—the puppet Philippine government's contribution to the US imperialist war of intervention—Ka Dan directly witnessed the merciless bombings and killings and the suffering wrought by the atrocities of American troops against Vietnamese civilians, even innocent children. These brutalities fuelled his rage and drove him to question profoundly US intervention in Vietnam, the Philippines and other countries. He possessed this critical stand until his return to the Philippines in 1967.
Ka Dan's critical view of the country's foreign relations eventually ran counter to the ruling class and state. In his thesis for advanced studies at the National Defense College from 1970 to 1971, he recommended the establishment of an independent Philippine foreign policy and the scrapping of the RP-U.S. Military Bases Agreement and other unequal military pacts between the US and the Philippines. He proposed the recognition and establishment of diplomatic and trade relations with the People's Republic of China, which was then treading the path of socialist revolution under the leadership of the Communist Party of China and its chairperson Mao Zedong. This was all totally unacceptable to imperialism and the reactionary ruling class.
His radical recommendations earned him the ire of the Marcos regime and the entire AFP leadership. Although he reached the rank of Navy Captain (equivalent to colonel in the Philippine Army) in 1971, his controversial thesis became a hindrance to his rise up the AFP ladder and obstructed his promotion to general.
This controversy became known to the CPP and the progressive forces. Comrades got in touch with him and began exchanging ideas with him. A number of unities were rapidly arrived at regarding the contents of his thesis as well as on many other issues on the state, the reactionary army and society. In the process, a number of comrades grew close to him and their continued and mutual exchanges of revolutionary ideas continued. Ka Dan's consciousness developed, his dedication and fearlessness in pursuing and enriching himself with revolutionary theories progressed, and so did his increased participation in progressive organizations and immersion with revolutionaries. He became more determined to become a fighter for the national democratic movement and the people.
When Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law and established fascist dictatorial rule in 1972, Ka Dan resigned from the AFP, saying he could no longer serve an institution that Marcos had converted into his own private army. Even so, Ka Dan continued relating with AFP officers whom he considered progressive, nationalist and propeople.
He was courageous and remained a staunch fighter for justice—all amid the obstacles, threats, dangers and persecution by the reactionary state. He remained firm upon his arrest by the fascist Marcos dictatorship in 1974. He was threatened and severely tortured, and was injected with "truth serum." For two years he was detained without charges in Camp Crame, Fort Bonifacio and Camp Bagong Diwa.
While in jail, Ka Dan actively participated in the political detainees' organization and regularly joined all its significant activities. He became a member of the leading council of the National Democratic Front inside prison.
Upon his release from detention, Ka Dan continued his activism against the US-Marcos dictatorship and pursuit of national liberation and democracy. He was one of the organizers and leaders of the Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at para sa Amnestiya (SELDA). When the Marcos dictatorship was toppled in 1986, Ka Dan was one of the organizers of Partido ng Bayan (PnB). He also accepted then the important and special task of forming an alliance with groups of officers within the reactionary army and organizing many others to take the side of the majority oppressed and exploited people and encouraging them to tread the national, progressive and revolutionary path. He was among those who persevered in the struggle of martial law victims and their pursuit of justice and was one of the witnesses in a class suit filed in Hawaii in 1992 against the Marcoses.
Ka Dan also was an officer of various progressive and patriotic organizations established in the succeeding years. He served as president of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) and member of its National Executive Committee and National Council. He was a member of the Board of Directors of Ibon Foundation, an officer of the Philippines-Cuba Friendship Association and a number of other progressive associations.
Ka Dan was one of the intellectuals who relentlessly opposed imperialist domination and US military intervention in the Philippines. He was tireless in the struggle and propaganda war against the Mutual Defense Treaty in 1954, the US military bases, Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), Access and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA), Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), Joint US-Philippine Balikatan Exercises and other forms of US military intervention in the Philippines.
Last year, Ka Dan joined the group that filed a case before the Permanent People's Tribunal (PPT) in The Hague, the Netherlands against George W. Bush, Gloria Arroyo and their governments.
He never wavered in his principles until the last years of his life. He continued writing regularly about his progressive ideas and analyses on burning issues and developments in the country. In recent years, he came out with three important books: Through the Eye of the Storm, Martial Law Diary and A Matter of Conviction. His books and writings reflect his militant standpoint against imperialism and fascism and the rottenness of the ruling system and his relentless struggle for national liberation, democracy and social progress. His works must be translated into Pilipino and other local languages and reproduced for the benefit of the wider majority.
While exposing and criticizing the fascist conduct and rampant corruption in the reactionary army, he continued to relate with progressive and trustworthy officers and military elements who could be persuaded to take a stand against the rotten US-Arroyo regime and the fascist AFP leadership.
The CPP calls on officers and personnel of the Armed Forces of Philippines whose hearts and minds are open to drawing inspiration from the life of Ka Dan and others from their ranks who have taken the side of the Filipino people, to follow Ka Dan's example. Their principled and propeople stance and their opposition to fascism, corruption and other forms of decadence within the AFP can only be transformed into a material force if they join the struggle on the side of the Filipino people.
The Communist Party of the Philippines values highly the countless contributions of Ka Dan Vizmanos to the Filipino people's struggle for national freedom, democracy and justice.
Ka Dan's contributions to the revolution will never be in vain. His ideas and advice will always be put to heart as the entire Filipino people march along the path of struggle to end imperialist rule and attain social liberation.
Advance the national-democratic revolution!
Long live Ka Dan Vizmanos!
Long live the Filipino people!