GENERAL SANTOS CITY - The remains of Marine Private First Class Marvin Russel Gomez, one of 58 state troopers killed in the battle for Marawi City, arrived in his hometown here Thursday.
Despite the rains, local officials here gave full honors to the soldier who gave up his life fighting the Islamic State-linked Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups in Marawi.
City Councilor Lulu Casabuena called Gomez a patriot who should be given a hero's welcome.
"He deserves the best," she said.
Councilor Beth Bagonoc meanwhile said officials have asked the local government to grant financial assistance to the fallen Marine's family.
"The city allocated P5 Million [in] assistance for our IDP's (internally displaced persons) in GenSan. Part of that fund must be given to the family of PFC Gomez," Bagonoc said.
Marine reservists in the city also gave honors to Gomez, one of the youngest government fatalities in the Marawi conflict at 23 years old.
A relative meanwhile recalled the slain soldier's kindness.
"Napakabuti ng batang iyan. Dalawa lang 'yan silang magkapatid, iyung kapatid niyang isa nag-stop pa sa pag-aaral. Sabi niya sa nanay niya, hindi siya mag-aasawa hangga't wala siyang naipatatayong bahay," said Gomez's aunt Fe Bernardez.
A tribute prepared by village officials also awaits Gomez when his remains arrive at his home in Purok Puting Bato.