‘It’ll take time to move on’: Troops commemorated on Marawi siege anniversary

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 23 2019 09:52 PM

‘It’ll take time to move on’: Troops commemorated on Marawi siege anniversary 1
‘It’ll take time to move on’: Troops commemorated on Marawi siege anniversary 2
‘It’ll take time to move on’: Troops commemorated on Marawi siege anniversary 3
‘It’ll take time to move on’: Troops commemorated on Marawi siege anniversary 4

Troops on Thursday commemorate their comrades who died during the Marawi siege in 2017. Kevin Manalo, ABS-CBN News

Troops on Thursday commemorate their comrades who died during the Marawi siege in 2017. Kevin Manalo, ABS-CBN News

Troops on Thursday commemorate their comrades who died during the Marawi siege in 2017. Kevin Manalo, ABS-CBN News

Emiliano Tibayan recalls the bravery of his son, Cpl. Edmond Tibayan. He said he is grateful that people have not forgotten Edmond’s sacrifice during the Marawi siege. Kevin Manalo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA—Two years after the Marawi siege, 165 military personnel, police officers and marines comprising the Joint Task Force Marawi were given a tribute on Thursday.

Standing tall at Heroes’ Cemetery, the Marawi Pylon was built to honor fallen servicemen.

Families, friends, colleagues and commanders offered white roses as a symbol of peace. When names were called, soldiers tolled the bell in their honor.

Cpl. Jubert Gamotia showed to ABS-CBN News his last photo with his “pards”, Cpl. Jethro Carlos, who died after an improvised explosive device detonated. Gamotia said he considers Carlos his brother. After 2 years, he still misses him.

Trembling because of trauma, Gamotia was almost killed in action after a sniper shot him in his left jaw. He said he could not remember anything that happened when he woke up after several days in the hospital.

“Andoon pa rin po ang aftershock. Di mawawala ’yan,” he said.

Maria Fe Arquio lost her husband, Cpl. Ariel Arquio, on July 28, 2017. She said his last words were about making sure they were OK.

“Huling communication niya, nangamusta siya. Sabi niya ito magpapahinga na ako," she said.

That night, Arquio could not reach her husband anymore. The widow could not control her tears upon seeing her husband’s face on her phone. She said she will keep her promise to him and to their children.

“Papa kung nasa’n ka man, ngayon alam ko nakikita mo kami sana tulungan mo ako palakihin anak mo. Ang promise ko po sa kanya gusto niya talaga makapagtapos mga anak niya . . . pag-aaralin ko at patatapusin ko," she said.

Social Welfare and Development Secretary Rolando Joselito Bautista, a major general during the siege, led the salute honoring their fallen comrades.

“The success of the liberation of Marawi is not just to the forces, it is to the nation. There are a lot of unsung heroes and ordinary people. We want to instill that the spirit will live on . . . The 1,700 wounded in action . . . Those of us who are alive right now in a simple ceremony like this," he said.

Bautista said there is still trauma after the siege.

“Meron pa ring goosebumps, not because of fear pero naaalala mo, maririnig mo ang mga sigaw at ingay ng ating kasamahan lalo na ’pag nasusugatan. It will take time para maka-move on ako personally," he said.

Despite the rehabilitation project in Marawi, many residents remain displaced. Moreover, many survivors of the armed conflict remain traumatized.

The Hijab Trooper, a group of Muslim women and members of the Task Force Marawi, have been put together to address the psychosocial conditions of survivors, specifically the children.

Second Lt. Ernest Marie Jane M. Laplana, a Hijab Trooper leader, said it is not an easy process, adding that she hopes children who undergo therapy will develop resilience.

“Psychosocial healing ng mga bata, nako-conduct kami ng modules. Pinapakilala namin sila sa kanilang sarili kumbaga profiling, then we help them through drawing and sayaw," Laplana said.