“Bombahin nalang ninyo ang location ko Sir! (Just bomb my location Sir!)”.
These were the last words uttered by 24-year-old Private First Class Dhan Ryan Bayot on May 25, 2017 as he made his final call to his commanding officer before he succumbed to death in the hands of the Maute-Daesh terrorists who took over the Islamic city of Marawi.
Together with nine other soldiers, PFC Bayot was stationed at a local detachment with his team from the 51st Infantry Battalion. On the third day of fighting, they were dispatched to secure the mayor’s residence which was just a few meters away from the detachment. But in the wee hours of the morning the next day, they were attacked with shots coming from different directions. Unknown to them, the mayor’s house had already been occupied by the terrorists and in the firefight that followed, five of PFC Bayot’s team members were killed. The other three tried to escape and abandon their post. One was later found to be dead, while the other 2 were injured.
Alone with no reinforcements in sight, PFC Bayot radioed his commanding officer to ask for help but nobody came to his aid. He called again for the second time, but was told that any reinforcement was too dangerous as the only way to get to him was heavily surrounded by enemy fire. At that point, PFC Bayot made the courageous decision to sacrifice his life than risk the other soldiers who would come to rescue him. He boldly sent his coordinates to his commanding officer and requested him to bomb his location so that the terrorists within his range will get hit too. “Bombahin nalang ninyo ang location ko Sir!,”(Just bomb my location Sir!)”, were the last words ever heard from him.
Four days later, his body and those of his team were recovered by four different units of different battalions given the impossible terrain. Much to the surprise of his father, a sergeant with the Division Reconnaissance Company of the 1st Infantry Division, Philippine Army, his dead son’s body bore no bullet wounds. Instead, his son’s face was heavily deformed with a deep bolo cut around his neck. It was presumed that the Maute-Daesh terrorists must have bashed his neck in an attempt to behead him before the location was bombed.
Despite the pain of losing PFC Bayot, his younger brother is determined to enlist in the Philippine Army. To him, his big brother is nothing short of a hero. A hero who fought for the people until his last breath.
In the Visayan dialect, the word ‘bayot’ literally means gay. For others – without prejudice to gender -it simply expresses weakness, cowardice or anything but bravery. PFC Bayot, may he rest in peace, gave the word a whole new different meaning. One that has nothing to do with fear.