By CHRIS V. PANGANIBANSAN FRANCISCO, Agusan del Sur— For humanitarian reasons, Army soldiers brought home the remains of two fallen communist guerillas to their respective families, ten days after they were killed in an encounter in the hinterland village of Binicalan in San Luis town.
2nd Lieutenant Romel Arnado, Civilian-Military Officer of the 26th Infantry Battalion, said the delay in transporting the decomposing remains of the two young New Peoples Army rebels was caused by the inability of military choppers considering the area where they were recovered is hardly accessible by land vehicles.
With the help of Mayor Jesryl Masendo of Talacogon town, the families along with the services of a local funeral parlor claimed the remains of the NPA casualties Joy Martinez, 21, alias Tata/Norbeng, a resident of Marbon in Talacogon town and Michael Sanchez , 27, a resident of Esperanza town, on October 7 and finally respectively brought them home a day after because of the long distance of travel
Arnado said they were requesting a chopper of the Philippine Air Force to immediately retrieve the slain rebels but there were none available since all are on standby in Marawi due to the ongoing crisis there.
Masendo disclosed the family of Martinez had earlier sought help from him to negotiate the slain rebel and his identical twin to lay down their arms and surrender several months back but they could not establish a communication with them until they just learned Joy was killed in the encounter with troopers from the Bravo Company of 26th IB.
Lt. Col. Rommel Pagayon, commanding officer of 26IB, believed the other twin could have been already killed in a separate encounter.
Col. Andres Centino, commanding officer of the 401st Army Brigade, has extended sympathy to the families of the fallen NPA rebels saying the two were just victims of the useless war waged by the communist armed struggle.
Meanwhile, six NPA rebels who recently surrendered to Masendo and the 26IB were given each of them immediate financial livelihood assistance of P15,000,a sack of rice and some food stuff.
The former rebels belonging to Front 88 said to be under Kumander Antoy yielded 11 long firearms which could be processed for another cash assistance of P50,000 for each weapon under the funding of Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process.
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