In Kidapawan, wife of policeman in coma hopes for peaceful settlement

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 4 April) – Rosalie Ann Untalan sat in a corner outside the intensive care unit (ICU) of the Kidapawan Doctors, Inc. on Saturday afternoon, waiting for news on the condition of her husband, SPO2 Ricky Untalan of M’lang Police Station.

Rosalie, a teacher who also works as secretary to the president of the Southern Baptist College here, told reporters on Saturday that every 20 minutes she goes inside the ICU to check on her husband, who had been fighting for his life since he was rushed to the hospital last Friday.

A video footage taken by a drone camera of the City Government of Kidapawan showed her husband was left behind when the police line was broken by angry protesters who returned after having been initially dispersed by water cannons. Alone amidst the protesters, he was beaten up.

Rosalie said her husband’s head was “damaged” and he has not opened his eyes yet.

Despite the condition of her husband, she called for a fair and peaceful settlement of the issue involving the government and those who barricaded the stretch of the highway in Kidapawan City from early Wednesday morning until the dispersal on Friday noon.

Farmers and members of militant groups set up the barricade Wednesday demanding, among others, the release of 15,000 sacks of rice as calamity assistance to drought-stricken farmers. They vowed to stay at the barricade until their demands were met.

The Untalan couple has a 19-year-old child.

Rosalie says she knows the risks that go along with her husband’s profession and has come to accept that this might someday cost his life. But she adds that if her husband recovers, “I would still let him continue his career.”

According to Ariel Casilao, Anakpawis party-list first nominee, last Friday’s violent dispersal claimed the lives of three farmers – Rotello Daelto of Brgy. Binoongan, Arakan; Victor Lumandang of Brgy. Alobayon in Magpet; and Enrico Pabrica, of Kidapawan City.

Casilao claimed there were also reports of two women killed but admitted they have yet to see the cadavers.

Kidapawan City Mayor Joseph Evangelista, on the other hand, said there were only two persons who died after being accidentally hit with rocks by fellow protesters.

Casilao said Makabayan Representatives Neri Colmenares, Carlos Isagani Zarate, and Terry Ridon set out on a mission on Saturday to check the conditions of the wounded farmers in different hospitals and those who were placed under the custody of police authorities.

Under police custody are 44 males housed at the Kidapawan Gym and 33 females at the Pilot Central Elementary School. At least 4,000 protesters have sought refuge at the Spottswood Methodist Center in Kidapawan City since Friday’s bloody dispersal.