Remains of another C-130 crash fatality brought home

By : Bobby Lagsa Mindanao Today/10:28:17am 07/24/2021


WEEPING KIN. Christy Pajela and Cherrielyn Dahan, aunts of Pvt. Jesfel Mequiabas weep as they look at the casket containing the remains of their nephew. (Bobby Lagsa) (Note: This news article was published in the print edition of Mindanao Today on July 21, 2021)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The remains of Philippine Army Pvt. Jesfel Mequiabas was brought home recently in Barangay Mat-i, Claveria, Misamis Oriental from Zamboanga City.

Mequiabas was one of the new graduates from the 4th Infantry Division (4ID) training school in Camp Ositio Bahian in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon on June 23, 2021.

The soldier died two weeks after the C-130 cargo plane he and dozen others crashed in Patikul, Sulu on July 4, 2021.

According to Major Francisco Garello, Jr., (4ID) spokesperson, Mequiabas passed away at 2:00 a.m. on July 16, after a two-week confinement in the critical care unit of Ciudad Medical de Zamboanga.

Mequibas’ uncle, Jerome Dahan, said that he traveled from Bacolod City to Zamboanga City and arrived Wednesday, July 15.

“He is the son of my sister. His parents cannot come to him because they were quarantined after being a close contact of a Covid-19 case,” Dahan said.

“I was the only one who can get to him, so I took my swab test and then traveled to Zamboanga City,” he added.

Dahan shared that when he got there, Mequiabas was intubated and in critical care.

Less than 24 hours after he arrived in the hospital, Mequiabas suffered a cardiac arrest, resulting to his death.

“Jesfel was in Manila hoping to get a job onboard ships as he was a Maritime Transportation graduate. But he decided to come back home because he felt that he has no luck looking for a job on board,” Dahan said.

“He joined the army because he wanted to help his family financially, that was his motivation,” he added.

Mequiabas’ aunt Christy Pajela said that his parents wanted so much to be at the deceased soldier’s side at the hospital, but they were prevented from moving because they were under quarantine.

“Maybe they could have spent more time together. Perhaps he could have lived had his parents in his side, he would have survived,” Pajela said.

She added that they felt that circumstances have stacked against them in getting to Mequibas on time.

The killed soldier was given full military honors and was posthumously awarded the Order of Lapu-lapu by Col. Michelle Anayron of the 4ID.

Mequiabas is the 11th army personnel who died in the tragic plane crash that was taken back to 4ID and brought to their respective homes.

A total of 50 soldiers died of the tragic plane crash, the worst aviation disaster for the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Of the 50 dead, 29 remains have already been identified while the other remains are still undergoing the tedious process of identification to ensure that they are brought to their families as soon as possible. (Bobby Lagsa)

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