TACLOBAN CITY – Some two unidentified slain guerrillas of the New People’s Army (NPA) were given a decent wake by the military and local government in San Isidro, Northern Samar, days after their comrades abandoned them in a clash with government forces.
The remains of the two unidentified rebels are in front of San Isidro town hall for days as authorities worked double-time to gather information from family members, relatives, and possible acquaintances of the slain rebels to help figure out their identities.
“Some families and residents of Oquendo District in Calbayog City, Samar; San Isidro and Bobon in Northern Samar have been constantly in contact with me and my unit to help identify the cadavers. As coordination is still ongoing, I am certain that the identities of the killed rebels will be determined the soonest to facilitate the immediate turnover of their bodies to their families,” said Lt. Col. Manuel Degay, Jr. commander of the Army’s 43rd Infantry Battalion in a statement on Thursday.
Once identified, authorities will turn over the cadavers to rightful claimants and extend necessary assistance such as coordination, security, transportation, and burial.
“As protectors of the people and the state, it is a norm for your professional soldiers to extend help even to the families of the enemies of the state,” Degay added.
The two slain rebels were among the 20 rebels engaged in a 15-minute gun battle in upland Palanit village in San Isidro town on Aug. 21. The rebels withdrew after being overpowered by the government troops.
After the clash, soldiers recovered the bodies of the two NPA fighters, three rifles, two bandoleers with magazines for M16 and M14 rifles loaded with ammunition, and five backpacks with personal belongings.
Northern Samar is considered to be the NPA’s stronghold in Eastern Visayas due to poor road network, thick forest, high poverty incidence, and low level of education in upland communities.
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA, which has been waging a five-decade armed struggle against the government, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)