Wednesday, October 06, 2010

In Mindanao, Pa finds missing son at last...

DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Oct. 6, 2010) - The search for his missing son ended on Monday morning. Though grieving and in pain, Maneja Andoyo heaved a sigh of relief upon finding his son’s skeletal remains in a shallow grave located at a mountainous area of Compostela Valley province.

Born on November 18, 1992, Bobong Andoyo joined the New People’s Army at the age of 15 more than two years ago. He left his home in Barangay Prosperidad, Montevista, Compostela Valley Province four days before his 17thbirthday. He never returned home since then.

Maneja raised and spent around fifty thousand pesos from selling whatever little possessions he had to look for his son. He traveled to many places including military camps where his son allegedly surrendered as claimed by his comrades in the underground movement.

He and his wife knew about their son’s plan to surrender but the apathy and indifference of the NPA to their concern for the well being of Bobong made them more worried and anxious.

Though tired and frustrated, he could not just stop because he always dreamt about his son calling out his name and pleading for help.

Bobong and his younger brother Rodrigo joined the NPA at the same time.

Unlike Bobong, Rodrigo could not bear the hunger and the physical and mental exhaustion he experienced so he turned his back to the rebel group who encouraged him to join the armed group in order to uplift his family from poverty. Staring blankly at the empty space, he felt the guilt of leaving his brother to die in the hands of the people of proudly claim to be the defender of the masses.

A rebel returnee who belonged to the same unit with Bobong revealed that the latter and a certain “Jeffrey” had deserted sometime in November last year bringing with them their firearms. This angered their unit commander who ordered a team to find and punish the “traitors”. The incident that followed later is history.

On the information fed by a resident of Sitio Pundasyon, Maneja finally learned that his son was executed by his own comrades. For fear that, he too, would be harmed if he would go to the site where his son was buried; he sought the assistance of the military. Lieutenant Colonel Ferdinand Napuli, the Commander of the Army’s 3rd Special Forces Battalion, immediately organized a team that would secure Maneja and his relatives. Personnel of the Scene of the Crime Operations in Nabunturan were also deployed to help in the exhumation task.

With trembling hands, Maneja helped dig the unmarked site where Bobong was buried. Tears were flowing down his eyes as they continued to remove the earth piled on top of the lonely grave. Not long after, Maneja found him there lying in the company of another victim identified by her own mother as Reto Mawang alias Jeffrey.

Bobong was still clad with the black long sleeve shirt and the fatigues, the same clothes he was wearing when he left home eleven months ago.

With the assistance of the military, the skeletal remains of the two were brought to a funeral parlor in Panabo City for cleaning and further examination. Apparently, they two were shot at close range.

Now at peace with himself, Maneja calls out to families whose kins are active members of the NPA to encourage them to surrender so as not to suffer the same fate as his son’s. “Giawhag nako katong mga ginikanan nga adunay anak, paryente o kaila nga miyembro sa NPA nga ilang panaugon arun dili masusama sa nahitabo sa akong anak,” he said in a statement released by the 10th Infantry Division.

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