CAMP JORGE DOWNES, ORMOC CITY– The Army’s 78th Infantry Battalion (IB) had exhumed the remains of an infant believed to be the child of a former NPA couple in the locally known place “Makatingol” in the hinterlands of Barangay San Gabriel, Borongan City on Saturday, April 20, 2024.

In a statement, Genevive Bajado Duro and Bryan Encinas said that Genevive gave birth in a temporary encampment in a forested area of Borongan City with the help of their comrade alias Nadoy on March 23, 2023.

Genevive recalled that she was hard up during her pregnancy at that time due to the group’s continuous movement because of the pressures of government operations.
Encinas then asked permission from their NPA commander that the couple have to stay ‘lie-low’ until she gave birth but was outrightly rejected by the leadership and was even threatened if they insisted on their plans.

Confronted with the risk that could arise from a series of military operations at their current location, they decided to evacuate their temporary encampment 10 days after she gave birth and walked for two days and experienced relapse as she was in the middle of recovery from giving birth.

Nearly a month later, she noticed her child had heavy breathing. The baby died on June 21, 2023.

With heavy hearts, the couple had no choice but to bury their child in the forested area without giving proper identification and a blessing from a priest.

Upon learning the story of the sad plight of the former rebels, the 78IB under the operational control of the 802nd Infantry Brigade immediately coordinated with the Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) of Eastern Samar and the Borongan City Police Office (BCPO) for the exhumation of the remains in order to give a proper and decent burial of the former rebels son.

For several days and with Encinas as the guide, the troops searched the general location of “Makatingol” and on Saturday, they were finally able to reach the place where the child was purportedly buried.

The remains of the FR’s child were unearthed and were given the name, Bryan Junior, by Encinas. It took another two days for the group to finally arrive back in Brgy Lalawigan, Borongan City where they were met by Genevive and Rev. Fr. Edgar Abucejo who officiated the ‘baptismal’ and blessings of the child’s remains.

The remains of the child were immediately turned over to SOCO for proper processing of his identity and verification.

The parents are very thankful for the assistance of the government forces in exhuming the remains of their child. They are very happy seeing their baby boy blessed by a priest and for the chance to give him a name, Bryan Junior.

“Magaan na sa pakiramdam sapagkat hindi ko na iisipin na may iniwan akong anak sa gubat, kasama na namin siya ngayon at hindi na siya nag-iisa doon sa kagubatan,” Duro was teary-eyed when she said this.

She once again thanked the troops of 78IB and 802nd Infantry Brigade.

“Hindi sila nagdalawang isip na puntahan ang naiwang labi ng aking anak sa gubat at kung hindi dahil sa kanila hindi madadala dito sa baba ang mga labi ng aking anak dahil hindi rin naman namin kayang puntahan doon ng kaming dalawa lang ng aking asawa kaya lubos ang aking pasasalamat sa mga sundalo,” Genevive, the mother of the child, said.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Bugaoan, 78IB commander, is calling once again for the remaining active members of the NPA to return to the folds of the law and be reunited with their families.

“Choose to be with your family again, they are waiting for you to come home. Let us end this insurgency once and for all, let us not kill the hope of our nation, let the children grow and see the beauty of peace and prosperity,” he said.

Brigadier General Noel Vestuir, 802nd Infantry Brigade commander, commended the 78IB for their dedication to their duty and their selfless acts in enduring days of hardships just to give a proper closure to the sad plight experienced by the former NPA couple.

He expressed gratitude as well to the SOCO Eastern Samar and the Borongan City Police Office for expediting the process of proper identification so that the couple’s son shall already be given a decent burial.

“I am elated that Genevive and Bryan’s ‘child’ is once again reunited with them, and at the same time aghast at the heartless attitude of the NPA commanders. I encouraged the remaining NPAs to open their eyes to your good-for-nothing group. The hands of peace are ready to embrace you, live a peaceful life with your loved ones and family,” Vestuir said. (PR)