DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/21 October) – Three of the 19 government soldiers slain in Basilan on Tuesday have been transported to their respective hometowns in Mindanao, with their comrades rendering military honors upon the arrival of their remains at the tarmac of the old Davao International Airport.
Aside from the 19 casualties, 14 other soldiers were wounded in the firefight in Al-Barka town.
Jennifer Mabalot, widow of Sgt. Bonfiacio Mabalot, told reporters that she was not blaming anyone for the death her husband and his comrades.
Mabalot, a mother of four the youngest of whom is nine-months old, said she has already accepted the death of her 34-year old husband since it was part of his job of as a soldier.
She added that they were married for 10 years already.
Mabalot disclosed that the last time she communicated with her husband was last week.
She said she and her husband were together for the last time in July this year, adding she had asked him if he could be reassigned in Davao del Norte.
The remains of the slain Special Forces sergeant were taken to Tagum City on board a military truck.
“I can ask for nothing more because I know this was really his job. I hope we’ll pray for those who have died,” she said in Filipino.
The 31-year old widow had depended on her husband to raise their kids.
She flew with the remains of her husband and those of other soldiers from Zamboanga City.
Like the widow, Pfc. Edwin Dequito, also boarded the plane that carried the bodies. His younger brother, Pfc. Erwin Dequito of the Special Forces was killed along with Mabalot.
The elder Dequito, who belongs to the 64th Infantry Battallion based in Marawi City, told MindaNews that the remains of his brother will be taken to Barangay Deganin in Pigcawayan, North Cotabato.
He said Erwin joined the Army in 2009.
The body of the third soldier, Pvt. Garry Colonia, was accompanied by his brother who is also a member of the Special Forces.
Colonia’s remains were taken to Tupi, South Cotabato, around 142 kilometers from this city.
Elements of the Task Force Davao unloaded the coffins from the C-130 cargo plane while a band from the Philippine Air Force played as the caskets were being carried to the tarmac for the military honors.
The C-130 touched down at the Davao International Airport at around 1:30pm.
From here, the C-130 cargo plane flew the remains of 1Lt. Frank Junder Caminos to Cagayan de Oro City.
The rest of the bodies were flown to Manila. (Keith Bacongco/MindaNews)