“Kapit lang sir ha, babalik kami”.
Those words, which have become synonymous with hope, became a catchphrase after it was used by a Tausug militiaman in rescuing a soldier from the wreckage of a military plane that went down in Sulu last Sunday, July 4.
Sherif Albridge Abdua Sakkam, a 28-year-old Special CAFGU Active Auxiliary (SCAA) member of the 5th Special Forces Company, was among first responders now hailed as heroes for saving the lives of soldiers from the burning C-130 aircraft.
His phrase, which he uttered to an injured military personnel was aimed to ease the latter’s pain and give him hope as help was on the way.
In the now viral video, he can be seen holding the hand of the soldier while explosions can be heard in the background.
“Hindi kita iiwan, promise,” was his answer to the military man’s desperate plea for Sakkam not to leave his side.
He was able to save four more victims from the plane crash.
“Awang awa ako sa kanya. Kahit Kristyano sya Muslim kami, awang awa ako sa kanya,” said Sakkam in a phone interview.
Sakkam said his viral photos and phrase earned him the attention and admiration of his family.
“Hindi naman sila ganoon dati,” he laughingly said.
More important than the phrase he made famous, however, is the message he wants to send to the public about the people of Sulu.
“Hindi po lahat ng Tausug masasama. Aun da isab marayao adat. (There are also those who are good.)”
Based on the latest update from the Western Mindanao Command, 47 soldiers are currently undergoing medical treatment at the private and public hospitals in Zamboanga City.
Two soldiers who were critically wounded during the July 4 crash, succumbed to their injuries on Monday, July 5, raising the death toll to 52.