CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The parents of one of the soldiers on board the C-130 that crashed in Patikul, Sulu on Sunday is still holding on to the hope that their son is alive.
Leonardo and Rowena Damole, from Kibawe, Bukidnon, went to the headquarters of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division (4ID) on Monday to get information about their 23-year-old son, Private Kevin Damole.
Kevin’s name was not among the list of 47 survivors.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines has yet to release the names of survivors and fatalities, although 49 passengers of the ill-fated aircraft were already confirmed dead.
A military police officer showed the initial list of the survivors to the Damole couple. Kevin was not on it.
His parents are not losing hope though and are awaiting the official communication from the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
“When he told us he will be deployed in Sulu and they will board that C-130 plane, I told him to take care of himself,” Leonardo narrated in the vernacular.
Sulu would have been Kevin’s first assignment after graduating from the 4ID Training Unit in Malaybalay City on June 23.
His graduation day was also the last time they spent a long time together.
Kevin, the eldest of the three siblings, stayed almost three years at the 4ID headquarters as a striker, or soldier aspirant waiting for training. He was admitted to the training camp in December 2020.
Prior to the fateful flight to Sulu, the C-130 landed at the Philippine Air Force’s Technical Operations Group-10 in Barangay Lumbia here and at the Laguindingan Airport in Misamis Oriental.
Most of the passengers were from the Malaybalay training camp.
Commander on board
Among those who cheated death was the newly-installed commander of the 4ID, Maj. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr.
From Villamor Air Base where the plane first took off, Brawner, his wife, and their two children got off at Lumbia Airfield.
“Thank God for the second life he has given to me,” he said in an interview.
Brawner, a Marawi Siege veteran and former superintendent of the Philippine Military Academy, replaced Maj. Gen Andres Centino, who has assumed command of the Philippine Army.
Help from LGU
The city government assured cash assistance for residents affected by the crash.
Mayor Oscar Moreno, in a virtual presser, said he already directed officials to identify the exact number, including those who died and got injured.
Deputy Speaker and Cagayan de Oro City Representative Rufus Rodriguez, in a statement, urged the Department of National Defense and the military to extend all possible help to the soldiers and the families of those who died.
“My heartfelt and sincere condolences to the families of the fallen soldiers and crew and civilians, and prayers for the speedy recovery of the injured, all of whom prepared to bravely defend our nation,” he said, pledging to likewise provide assistance. (PNA)