ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews / 05 July) —The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Sulu provincial government vowed Monday to extend the necessary assistance to the families of soldiers and civilians killed in the Lockheed C-130 aircraft crash in Patikul town on Sunday.
1Lt. Jerika Manongdo, speaking for the 11th Infantry “Alakdan” Division, said the families of the soldiers killed in the crash will receive support and benefits from the AFP even if they have yet to start serving their units.
“The Philippine Army and the Armed Forces of the Philippines will provide the logistical support to the families, not just the 11th Infantry Division,” she said.
Sulu Vice Governor Abdusakur “Toto” Tan II also assured help from the provincial government for the crash victims.
“The provincial government will extend all necessary assistance to the families of the affected,” he said.
Major Gen. William Gonzales, Joint Task Force Sulu commander, said they mourn “the death of our comrades and the civilians who perished from this very tragic plane crash.”
“These soldiers were supposed to join us in our campaign for peace here in Sulu,” he said.
“We offer our deepest condolences to their families and loved ones and urge the nation to continue praying for those who were injured and affected by this ill-fated incident. Rest assured that we will remain committed to our mission and make sure that our comrades’ sacrifices will not go in vain,” he added.
Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan who is currently in the city, said the soldiers did not die in vain as they were to join the fight against terror.
“They sacrifice their lives in the name of peace and the safety and security of our people,” he said.
Disturbing the quite
The plane mishap on Sunday noon disturbed the quiet village of Bangkal in Patikul town, the hinterlands of which used to be a lair of the Abu Sayyaf Group.
After the crash, the ammunition of the soldiers from the ill-fated plane fired into different directions, slowing down the civilians who rushed to help the victims.
Almar Hajiraini Aki, 20, a Grade 12 student from the Jolo National High School, said that not all civilians who responded to help can communicate in Filipino.
Aki, who understands Filipino, recalled that he assisted three pilots, whom he identified as such as they wore fatigue overalls that were different from the rest. He helped one of the pilots detached his backpack and repositioned it in front of his body.
“Humihingi sya ng tulong. Hindi sya naiintindihan ng iba pero naintindihan ko (He was asking for help. Others could not understand him, but I could,” Aki said.
“Tulong! Dalhin nyo ako sa ospital (Help! Bring me to the hospital),” he added, noting the victim, lying on his back, was gasping for air.
Aki said the pilot instructed the civilian rescuers to secure the pilots’ backpacks as they contained important things.
The boy called a tricycle driver in his 50’s, known in the locality as Tatay Sihon, and asked him to bring the wounded pilot to the nearest hospital.
“Hindi sya makatayo. Wasak na yung paa nya (The pilot could not stand. His foot was broken),” Aki said.
The next day, the boy learned from the village chief of Bangkal, Tanda Hailid, that the three pilots they tried to help all died.
“May they rest in peace. We did what we could to help them. Let us accept God’s will,” Aki said.
Two teenage brothers gone
Jimar Ahajari and his younger brother (whose name is not yet known as of posting), both students also of the Jolo National High School, were at the crash site in Sitio Dan Puti in Barangay Bangkal when the ill-fated plane went down.
Patikul Mayor Kabir Hayudini said the local government will extend financial assistance to the Ahajari family.
The two boys were buried according to Islamic rites.