Soldier brings home urn containing ashes of his twin brother-soldier

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 11) — The urn containing the cremated remains of 2nd Lt. Vince Magbanua, was brought home by his twin brother, 2nd Lt. Vico Magbanua on board a C-295 aircraft on Friday, for turnover to their parents.

Magbanua succumbed to acute bronchitis on Wednesday in Bulacan.  He was suspected to have been infected with the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) after showing symptoms such as difficulty in breathing and dry cough.

But in a statement on Thursday, Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson, Marine Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, said they have yet to receive a report that will conclude if his was a case of COVID-19 or not.

2nd Lt. Vince Magbanua is home. His twin brother, 2nd Lt. Vico Magbanua (center) brought home the urn containing his remains (on the table)  from Bulacan where he passed away on Wednesday to Davao City on Good Friday, for turnover to their parents (L). Photo courtesy of Tactical Operations Wing Eastern Mindanao Command

A resident of Davao City, Magbanua was a member of Philippine Military Academy Class 2018, and was a Platoon Leader/Executive Officer of the Weapons Company, Headquarters Service Battalion, 48th Infantry Battalion, 7th Infantry Division based in Doña Remedios Trinidad, Bulacan.

Arevalo said contact tracing and quarantine protocols are already being implemented in the 48th Infantry Battalion as a matter of precaution.”

Arevalo announced the death of Magbanua at 3:40 p.m. on Wednesday after he was rushed to Norzagaray Municipal Hospital in Bulacan complaining of severe difficulty in breathing.

A press release issued by the Tactical Operations Wing Eastern Mindanao on Saturday said the remains of the 24-year old soldier were flown in from Manila on-board a C-295 aircraft of the Philippine Air Force, accompanied by his twin brother.

2nd Lt. Vince Magbanua of Davao City. Philippine Military Academy Class of 2018. Photo courtesy of Philippine Army.

It added that Lt. Peter A. Esarza, district chaplain of the Philippine Coast Guard in Southern Mindanao, officiated a simple blessing.

A final salute was also rendered by members of the Tactical Operations Wing Eastern Mindanao led by its Wing Commander Col. Dennis G. Estrella, to honor the fallen soldier “for his dedication to the service and his courage to bring government relief to those affected by the Enhanced Community Quarantine despite the inherent risks of this task.” (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)