Army turns over slain rebel to town mayor
By Ana-Liza S. Macatangay
The remains of an unidentified New People’s Army (NPA) rebel who was slain during an armed encounter in Lagonoy, Camarines Sur over the weekend, was turned over by officials of the 96th Infantry Battalion (96IB) to Mayor Delfin Pilapil III for proper burial.
The cadaver of the communist rebel and an M-16 rifle were recovered at the encounter site thru the joint effort of personnel of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) and 96IB.
“The government troopers were conducting a hot pursuit operation against the CTG members responsible for the production and stockpiling of several anti-personnel mines last April 9, which resulted in an armed encounter on April 10, Saturday, and killed the said CTG member,” 9th Infantry Division (9ID) spokesperson Capt. John Paul Belleza said in a press statement.
Lt. Col. Benjamin Lonogan, 9IB commanding officer, expressed his condolences to the bereaved family of the slain rebel. He said that even if he belonged to the “enemy’s” side, he still deserves a decent wake and burial.
“A life that is lost, either of our soldiers or of the enemies is heartbreaking. But this could have been prevented had these CNTs heed our call for them to return to the folds of the law,” Lonogan said.
“Since there is no claimant yet, the body was turned over by the government troops to Mayor Delfin Pilapil III of Lagonoy for proper disposition,” Belleza added.
MGen. Henry A. Robinson Jr., 9ID and Joint Task Force Bicolandia (JTFB) commander, said that soldiers are still duty-bound to respect the body of the enemies killed in an encounter, more so, give them a decent burial.
Robinson thanked LGU-Lagonoy for helping them in ensuring that the slain body received the respect it deserved.
“A decent burial should still be given to the slain CTG member who was abandoned by his comrades during his last moment. To die for a greater cause is heroic, but to die for a terrorist group, which turned its back from its members when they are helpless is tragic. That is the true color of the CTG,” Robinson said.
He further called on NPA members to leave the armed struggle while there is still time, reunite with their families and return to the fold of the law.
Col. Jaime Abawag Jr., Brigade commander of 902nd Infantry Brigade also encouraged the relatives of NPA members to help the government in its fight against insurgency. He said that their wrong idealism only led to the loss of precious lives.
“Tulungan n’yo kaming pababain sila sa mga kabundukan dahil ayaw naming dumating sa puntong iuuwi namin sainyo ang inyong mga mahal sa buhay na pantay na ang mga paa. Hindi ba’t mas magandang isiping uuwi sila sainyo ng humihinga at maaari pa ninyong makasama ng mas mahabang panahon,” Abawag said.