Bukidnon town mourns the passing of their two soldiers

By : Bobby Lagsa Mindanao Today/09:38:49pm 07/22/2021


(Note: This news article was published in the print edition of Mindanao Today on July 12, 2021)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The Philippine flag flew at half-mast in Barangay Dagumba-an, Maramag town in Bukidnon to mourn the passing of its two youth leaders who joined the Army and died in the C-130 plane crash in Patikul, Sulu on Sunday, July 4.

Privates Vic Monera and Mark Nash Lumanta, both 25 years old, died in the plane crash just days after graduating from the Army training center in Camp Ositio Bahian, headquarters of the 403rd Infantry Brigade of the 4th Infantry Division.

Monera and Lumanta are among the six identified bodies that were taken to the 4ID headquarters in Barangay Patag, this city.

Of the six casualties that were flown in from Zamboanga City to Cagayan de Oro, four of them came from Bukidnon, one from Misamis Oriental, and one from Agusan del Norte.

Dagumba-an, small, tightly knitted community are in mourning of two of their own who wanted to help their families and serve the country.

The village saw its fair share of land conflict where indigenous peoples’ leaders were killed for fighting for their ancestral land away from the rich ranching families, to whom the government leased the lands.

Vic’s mother, Bae Vilma Monera, the IP mandatory representative in the barangay council and a proud Talaandig tribeswoman, fought for their ancestral land, from their community all to the way to the Quezon Memorial Circle where the Department of Agrarian Reform and Department of Agriculture hold offices.

For fighting for their ancestral land, Monera, president of the Panansalan-Dagumba-an Tribal Association (Padata), the government awarded them 355 hectares of land through the Certificate of Land Ownership Award (CLOA), equally divided among 130 members.

However, this came at a cost to the lives of members killed in the process of their land struggle.

Lumanta’s father is also the senior citizen’s affairs president, working hard in the farms tending to their sugar canes and other crops.

Adriano Balaba, Dagumba-an barangay chairperson, said that they mourn the passing of their kids, who grew up in the valley of Panansalan and Dagumba-an.

“The Barangay Council strongly gives honor to our two soldiers who died in the tragedy,” Balaba said in a text message.

Adriano said that the council’s first step was to issue a resolution for a half-mast flag to show their respect and mourning.

“When they will be buried, our Barangay office will be close as we enjoin the entire community to for their internment,” Balaba added.

Bonded at training

According to Jowena Lumanta-Reyes, elder sister of Mark Nash, Vic and her brother knew each other from their community, but they went to different schools.

Back then, Dagumba-an has no public school, parents will have to send their children to other barangays for their education.

“We know them, we are neighbors with the Moneras, but the two of them went to different schools,” Reyes said.

For their college days, Monera sent Vic to Capitol University in this city while Mark Nash went to Davao City.

“Every semestral break, they would come home to Dagumba-an,” Vilma Monera said.

In a social media post from Lumanta, there were supposed three of them who enlisted in the Army, but one of them did not qualify for the age limit.

Their community helped Vic and Mark Nash on the day they reported for duty in Malaybalay, a two-hour drive from their barangay.

Their neighbors offered them white shirts, as it is the required outfit for reporting.

The two bonded in their training in Malaybalay, looking out for each other, recalled Reyes.

Vilma was also happy that Vic is with Mark Nash for their training in the army.

Reyes said that his brother wanted to help their family, as their parents are now old and still tending their farm.

Vic on the other hand, took over the family’s responsibility when his father died in 2017.

“He promised that he will help us,” Vilma said.

For his first and only salary, Vic sent P38,000 to his mother, with instructions to pay their debts and buy food.

Mark Nash on the other hand, personally handed out his salary to Reyes on the last day they saw each other, on July 1 at the 4ID gym.

Mark Nash also gave his sister his framed graduation photo telling his sister to take care of it.

“He told me to give his money to our parents, he was happy,” Reyes said.

For Dagumba-an residents, reading through their social media posts, it is clear they are shocked and mourning for the tragedy that befell their two sons.

The remains of Mark Nash and Vic was brought home in Barangay Dagumba-an where their entire community is waiting over the weekend,

“All of us here in Dagumba-an, are one in mourning for our two sons,” Balaba said.

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