SEN. NINOY AQUINO, Sultan Kudarat (MindaNews / 5 Feb) – After days of calling for relatives of two slain rebels killed in a clash in the mountains of this municipality using social media and radio stations and nobody showed up, the local government had decided to bury the bodies.
Mayor Randy Ecija Jr. joined security officials from Philippine National Police and the Army’s 37th Infantry Battalion for the “dignity burial” offered to the unidentified cadavers in a local public cemetery on Tuesday.
“We called pastors to offer prayers for the repose of their souls. Though they are deemed enemy of the state, but for us they are also people of this nation who are victims of wrong manipulation by the NPA rebels,” he said.
Ecija told that civilians were alarmed on the presence of around 20 armed men last week.
“Then it was reported to us by civilians that these men, outsiders from our province and roaming around the boundaries of Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat ranges, are conducting extortion activities,” he said.
Past 8 p.m. on Jan. 31, a platoon from the 37IB conducted clearing operation in Sitio Sinuksok, Barangay Bugso here when they met the fully armed rebels led by a certain Kumander Ray-Ray.
The clash lasted 30 minutes and three of the rebels were reportedly killed, but only two of the cadavers were left behind as the rebels retreated, also leaving behind several firearms, including an M-16 and an M-14 riffle, a caliber .45 pistol and rounds of ammunitions in the encounter area.
Reports from the 37IB led by Lt. Col. Robert Go revealed that one of the slain rebels was brought by his comrades while fleeing.
Ecija, for his part, has called on his constituents never to accept the ideals of the rebels or host them in their respective communities as this would be the fate of those who embrace the likes of them.
“The local government is using its full resources to address the concerns of the people in terms of health, education, social services and others. They just need to visit and talk to us, no need to fight against the state,” Ecija stressed. (Ferdinandh Cabrera / MindaNews)