By Connie B. Destura and Jorge Hallare
LEGAZPI CITY --- Soldiers in Bicol on Monday paid tribute to 27-year-old Pfc Reymart Carloto who died in the recent clash between government troops and the Maute terrorist group in Marawi City.
Soldiers carried the casket bearing the remains of Carloto as it arrived at the Legazpi Airport Monday morning for the military honors befitting a hero for his “ultimate sacrifice.”
“The soldiers recognize the ‘ultimate sacrifice’ of Carloto to defend and protect the residents of Marawi against the Maute terrorists,” said Col. Alden Juan Masagca, brigade commander of the Albay-based 901st Infantry Brigade who led the arrival honors.
An airplane of the Philippine
Air Force-Tactical Operations Group-Bicol brought Carloto’s remains to the Legazpi Airport.
After the arrival honors, his remains were later brought to his hometown in Gubat, Sorsogon.
Carloto died on June 2 while assigned at the 51st Infantry Batallion of the Philippine Army in Zamboanga del Sur. He was first enlisted in 2014 at the Army’s 1st Infantry “Tabak” Division based in Camp Major L. Sang-an in Barangay Pulacan in Labangan town of the same province.
“The fight in Marawi is not a problem in Mindanao alone because if there is no peace in Mindanao the entire Philippines will be affected,” said Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal, chairman of the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC), who joined the military honors for Carloto.
Rosal said Carloto’s death serves as a “wake-up call” to intensify security in the entire country as the incident in Marawi City could happen in any part of the country.
He said the armed forces in Bicol should also heighten intelligence gathering with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and other law enforcement agencies to prevent any attempt of terrorists to enter the region.
Rosal said RPOC is prepared to give “whatever help it can” to the AFP for its operations against terrorists and criminal groups.
He said he would call for a meeting of the RPOC on June 20 with top officials of the AFP, PNP and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to tackle the general situation in Bicol.
Responding to the honors given her son, mother Maria Carloto said it was painful and difficult to accept the death of his youngest child.
“But the family is honored because of the sacrifice he made for peace in the land,” she said.
Carloto’s sister, Ria Romo, also tearfully responded.
“Sa akong pugto, di ba sabi mo mauli ka, ini naka uli ka na, napaaga lang Noy, (To my brother, you said you will be home. You did really come home, except that you arrived sooner than expected),” she said.