NSFA, Panacan, Davao City – The different units of Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) paid tribute to the soldiers who died in the C-130 military plane crash in Sulu on July 4.
Troops all over Eastern Mindanao expressed their solemn grief over the loss of their comrades and honored their patriotism by conducting several activities including an interfaith memorial service, wreath-laying, flag retreat ceremonies, offering of financial assistance to the bereaved families, assigning of vigil guards, rendering of full military honors, and the conferment of posthumous awards, among others.
EastMinCom Headquarters spearheaded the simultaneous conduct of interfaith memorial service on July 10 facilitated by the Command Chaplain, a pastor, and an imam. It was followed by wreath-laying and flag retreat ceremonies to pay tribute to the service and sacrifice of the fallen comrades. The Order of Lapu-Lapu was also posthumously awarded to the fallen soldiers whose cadavers arrived in Davao City.
The 4th Infantry Division, 403rd Brigade, and 901st Brigade also conducted similar activities in their respective jurisdictions on the same date.
The Tactical Operations Wing-Eastern Mindanao (TOW-EM) also rendered full military honors and posthumously awarded the Order of Lapu-Lapu to 1st Lt. Sheena Alexandra Tato and Airman First Class Fortunate Regidor upon arrival of their remains in Davao City on July 9 and 11, respectively.
Meanwhile, EastMinCom Commander LtGen. Greg T. Almerol visited the wake of 1Lt Karl Joseph T. Hintay, one of the soldiers who died in the ill-fated C-130 aircraft, and personally handed over the Command’s financial assistance to the family at the Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao Chapel in Davao City on July 12. Prior to this, LtGen. Almerol also went to Cagayan de Oro to personally visit the wake of six more soldiers who perished in the same aircraft crash.
On July 12, TOW-EM rendered another full military honors and awarded the Order of Lapu-Lapu to the late Pvt. Archie Barba upon arrival of his remains at the Davao Air Station, Barangay Sasa, Davao City.
Five more fallen soldiers namely PFC Carlos Dapanas Jr from Manticao, MisOr; TSg Nelson Hadjiri from Kadingilan, Bukidnon; PFC Philip Dante Camilosa from Bit-os, Butuan City; Pvt Carlos Jhun Paragua Jr from Manila De Bugabos, Butuan City; and Cpl Jay-ar Obenita from Lianga, Surigao del Sur were also awarded the Order of Lapu-Lapu by the 4th ID upon arrival of their remains at Lumbia Airport, Cagayan de Oro City on July 12.
The 402nd Brigade also conferred the Order of Lapu-Lapu to the late Army S/Sgt. Butch Maestro in Buenavista, Agusan del Norte on July 13, 2021.
LtGen. Almerol also paid visit to the wake of late 1st Lt. Tato on July 13 at her residence in Ecoland Subdivision and to A1C Regidor’s wake on July 14 at his residence in Mawab, Davao de Oro and handed over the Command’s financial assistance to their families, respectively. In the latter, LtGen. Almerol was accompanied by Davao de Oro Governor Jayvee Tyron Uy and 1001st Brigade Commander BGen. Luis Rex Bergante.
Moreover, LtGen. Almerol visited the wake of Pvt. Archie Barba at Purok Rambutan, Barangay Datu Abdul, Panabo City on July 16 along with LtCol. Victorino M. Seño, the Commander of 27th Infantry Battalion and extended financial assistance to the grieving family.
“Team EastMinCom grieved for these brave men and women whose lives had ended unexpectedly. It seems so painful that words alone cannot convey the struggle of understanding why such an accident happened, especially for those young soldiers who were full of enthusiasm to carry out the mission of protecting our people and nation,” Almerol expressed.
“Despite the challenges and difficulties they faced; we know deep in our hearts that they are bound together by a firm bond of valor. We salute them. We shall honor their sacrifices, hard work, and memory forever,” Almerol added.
Almerol also encouraged everyone to be strong and let the memories of the fallen soldiers inspire them to continue to do good for the country and the people.
“To the family of our departed comrades, I know that this is a difficult time for you but your loved ones died for a noble cause. We share your grief as we too have lost a dedicated colleagues and loyal comrades,” Almerol remarked.