Batanes to Tawi-Tawi
with Julmunir I. Jannaral
“Kapit lang Sir ha. Babalik kami.” (Hold on Sir, we will come back) This is what the Tausug civilians of Patikul, Sulu gave the assurance to the survivors immediately after they responded to the crash site in Barangay Bangkal, Patikul. They have to retrieve the wounded soldiers one by one to safety. Thus they assured the rest of the survivors to hold on as they will surely come back to rescue them.
These words of assurance from the rescuers have deeply touched the netizens following the social media. That also including the ranking military officials who have made recognition of the residents of Patikul mostly young men for their heroic deed of trying to help so that others may live.
These civilians have risked including their lives while in the process of helping the crash victims as they rescued them one by one from the burning wreckage of the ill-fated C-130 Philippine Air Force plane that crashed at the end of the runway of Jolo Airport in the Province of Sulu last July 4.
As the crash investigators have found already the black box of the C-130 plane they still have to determine the real cause of the accident.
Chief of Staff of the AFP (CSAFP) Gen. Cirilito Sobejana visited also the Province of Sulu in order to see for himself the crash site in Barangay Bangkal, Patikul.
Ironically the Patikul residents were sometimes suspected as supporters of Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG). But yet they were acknowledged by the military as the first responders to the air tragedy that fell upon the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
No less than the Commander of the Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr., who acknowledged the heroism of the Tausug from Patikul for helping the wounded military men and helped the retrieval of wounded soldiers from the wreckage of C-130.
“To the survivors and all of us, our brothers and sisters Tausug are our heroes. They risked their own lives to save their fellow Filipinos whom they consider as their protectors from the malefactors,” Lt. Gen. Vinluan, Jr. further stated.
Based on the approved report of CSAFP Gen. Sobejana, there was a total of 96 passengers on board the ill-fated military aircraft.
Out of these total 96 passengers, there were 47 cadavers retrieved. In the flight manifest, there were 3 pilots on board and 5 crew members of the Philippine Air Force.
On the other hand, 3 civilian Patikul residents on the ground and not among the plane passengers died too, while 4 were critically injured. Their houses were situated near the end of the runway of the Jolo Airport.
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