An army soldier had a video call with his family in Panabo City minutes before their C-130 Hercules transport plane took off from Cagayan de Oro City on Sunday.
The family of Army Private Archie Barba never thought it would be their last goodbye. Later that day, the plane crash landed in Sulu, killing 52 people— the worst air disaster involving a military plane in the country's history.
His sister Christine said her brother never missed updating the family since he started his 7-month training in the Philippine Army. They last exchanged goodbyes on Sunday as the soldier promised to call them as soon as they landed in Jolo.
"Sabi niya kapag makarating na siya sa Jolo, tatawag siya sa amin," said Christine.
(He said he would call us once they arrive in Jolo.)
Instead, later that day, the family received videos and social media posts from friends about a C-130 plane that crashed in Jolo, Sulu.
At first, they said they were in denial but later on accepted it with a heavy heart after an official confirmed to them that Archie was among those who died in the crash.
"Sobrang sakit at sayang na nawala siya sa amin ng bigla," his mother, Marilyn Barba, told ABS-CBN News.
(It's too painful that he is no longer with us.)
After his two-year vocational course, Archie, 24, helped his father in their banana plantation before joining the Army.
The family described him as a very kind, polite person with full of dreams.
"Noong nasa training pa siya, sabi niya, tutuparin ko talaga 'yung pangarap ni Mama at Papa. Bibillhan ko ng sasakyan si Papa para hindi na siya magtrabaho, mag-negosyo na lang daw. Tapos ang bahay namin, ipapaayos niya. Tapos siya daw magpapaaral sa anak ko," Christine said.
(While he was still in training, he promised to fulfill our parents's dreams. He said he would buy Papa a car so he would stop working and just go into business. He also said he would repair our house and send my child to school.)
Until now, they are waiting for the remains of their fallen hero to arrive in Panabo City.
Another Panabo City resident, 25-year-old Air Force 1st Lt. Karl Hintay, was also among the fatalities in the crash.
Hintay finished BS Biology at the University of the Philippines - Mindanao before joining the military.
UP Mindanao and Maryknoll College in Panabo have expressed their condolences to their former student.
For his classmates and barkada, Hintay was more than a friend and a batchmate.
His childhood friend, Adrian de Vera, said Hintay was a very thoughtful, down-to-earth, and supportive friend.
"Every birthday niya, naghahanda siya ng pangbigay niya sa mga needy, gaya ng bigas, sa mga random lang na tao na nakikita niya sa daan," he said.
(For his every birthday, he would prepare something to give to the needy.)
The international community has sent condolences to the Philippines for the plane crash, considered the worst in the country's history involving a military aircraft.
- Report from Hernel Tocmo
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