BUTUAN CITY — The father of the New People’s Army (NPA) member killed during the November 2 encounter in Santiago, Agusan del Norte, finally surfaced and claimed the remains of his son.

In a statement on Monday, the Army’s 29th Infantry Battalion (29IB) said that after examination and investigation, the dead body of Alias “Joey” was finally turned over to his father, Reginaldo T. Mira.

Joey, 19, native of Guigaquit town, Surigao del Norte was killed during the armed confrontation.

“I felt deeply sad knowing that someone as young as ‘Joey’ was deceived by the NPA’s sweet lies and as a result had engaged in their terrorist acts,” said Lt. Col. Isagani O. Criste, commander of 29IB, in the same statement on Monday.

The Army said Joey was only 17 years old when he joined the communist movement.

For two years, he served as a member of the NPA’s Guerilla Front Committee 16, North Eastern Mindanao Regional Command (NEMRC), the statement added.

The Army said Mira was emotional when he identified his son, saying that the last time he saw him was on October 2, 2017.

“That was the day when he decided to join the NPAs,” Mira was quoted as saying.

Mira also expressed gratitude to the Army for giving them the opportunity to give his son a decent burial despite being a member of the NPA.

“They (Army) exerted efforts to bring down the dead body of my son from the encounter site,” Mira said.

Criste has called on parents in Agusan Norte to be watchful to their children, relatives, and friends.

“Do all your best to protect them against the lies and deceit of the NPA that destroys many of people’s lives and dreams,” Criste said.

He also called on the remaining NPA rebels in the area to stop the recruitment of minors, return to the fold of the law, and avail of the integration program of the government. (PNA)