The military and local government in San Isidro, Northern Samar, gave two unnamed killed insurgents of the New People’s Army (NPA) a proper wake days after their colleagues deserted them in a confrontation with government forces.
The bodies of the two unnamed rebels have been on display in front of San Isidro town hall for days while authorities worked around the clock to gather information from the deceased rebels’ family members, relatives, and prospective acquaintances in order to determine their identities.
“Some families and residents of Oquendo District in Calbayog City, Samar; San Isidro and Bobon in Northern Samar have been constantly in contact with me and my unit to help identify the cadavers. As coordination is still ongoing, I am certain that the identities of the killed rebels will be determined the soonest to facilitate the immediate turnover of their bodies to their families,” said Lt. Col. Manuel Degay, Jr. commander of the Army’s 43rd Infantry Battalion in a statement on Thursday.
Once the cadavers have been identified, authorities will hand them over to the appropriate claimants and provide any additional help needed, such as coordination, security, transportation, and burial.
“As protectors of the people and the state, it is a norm for your professional soldiers to extend help even to the families of the enemies of the state,” Degay added.
The two murdered rebels were among 20 insurgents killed in a 15-minute gunfire battle in San Isidro town’s mountainous Palanit village on Saturday (August 21). After being routed by government soldiers, the insurgents withdrew.
Soldiers found the remains of two NPA combatants, three rifles, two bandoleers with magazines for M16 and M14 rifles loaded with ammo, and five backpacks with personal items after the encounter.
Because of its inadequate road network, dense forest, high poverty rate, and low level of education in highland towns, Northern Samar is considered the NPA’s stronghold in Eastern Visayas.
The United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines have all designated the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA as a terrorist group for its five-decade military fight against the government.