AFP brings NPA cadavers to their families as commitment to human rights

CAMP AQUINO, Tarlac City – The remains of three New People’s Army rebels who died in a series of encounters with the government troops in Cagayan Valley a few days back  already been transported to their respective families.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines-Northern Luzon Command said the military was able to verify the identity of cadavers with the help of their families and former comrades-in-arms from the terrorist movement.

They were identified as Baliwag Boccol, alias “Ka Bombo,” 67, a member of Squad Uno of Komiteng Larangang Gerilya Baggas, Ilocos Cordillera Regional Committee, from Barangay Nambucayan, Tabuk City, Kalinga; alias “Morga” from Manila, a student from the University of the Philippines (UP) who was recruited into the armed movement, and alias “Aldy,” a resident of Isabela.

The collective efforts of the Army 5th Infantry Division, the Philippine National Police, and the Provincial Task Force ELCAC have made the melancholic reunion of the cadavers to their families possible from the retrieval of the cadavers, their identification, up to coordination, and communication with their respective families and LGUs.

Ka Aldy was given a proper burial with the help of the local government of Buguey, Cagayan on May 8  at the Centro West Public Cemetery in Buguey; Morga was cremated upon the decision of his father, and Boccol was brought to Tampco Funeral Homes, Dagupan, Tabuk City,  on May 4.

Lt. Gen. Fernyl G. Buca, Nolcom commander, conveyed his deepest sympathies to the families of the bereaved.

“We recognize that no amount of words can ease the pain of losing a loved one. That is why I echo my call to the remaining communist terrorists to surrender while they still have a chance to start a peaceful life,” he said.

Buca also highlighted the troops' commitment to selflessly serve and protect the people.

“Rather than treating the deceased terrorists as mere casualties, our troops went above and beyond to ensure that the remains were treated with the dignity and respect that every human being deserves,” he said.

“Despite the tension and hostility that often characterize such situations, our soldiers remained professional and respectful, even to their enemy who wish to cause harm to them and the communities which is a clear manifestation of our strict adherence to International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights as well as the recognition of the need to treat everyone with dignity, regardless of their beliefs or affiliations. I take pride in our soldiers who not only fight for our country's freedom but also exhibit empathy and adherence to human rights even in the most challenging situations,” added Buca.

He also commended the troops on the ground.

“Nolcom’s efforts in bringing the remains of the slain communist terrorists to their families is a reminder that in the face of conflict and compassion, respect can go a long way in promoting peace and reconciliation,” Buca said.