MANILA— The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Wednesday said it has already identified 19 out of the 49 bodies of soldiers who perished in the plane crash in Jolo, Sulu on Sunday.
In a statement, the military said they are still trying to identify the remaining 30 bodies in Zamboanga City.
AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Cirilito Sobejana also said they would focus on the ongoing probe of air accident, which is still ongoing. The incident is the worst crash involving a military plane in Philippine history.
Identified were the following:
- Philippine Air Force
- Maj. Emmanuel Makalintal
- Maj. Michael Vincent Benolerao
- 1st Lt. Joseph Hintay
- Technical Sgt. Mark Anthony Agana
- Technical Sgt. Donald Badoy
- Staff Sgt. Jan Neil Macapaz
- Staff Sgt. Michael Bulalaque
- Sgt. Jack Navarro
- AFP Nurse Corps
- 1st Lt. Sheena Alexandria Tato
- Philippine Army
- Sgt. Butch Maestro
- PFC Christopher Rollon
- PFC Felixzalday Provido
- Pvt. Raymar Carmona
- Pvt. Vic Monera
- Pvt. Mark Nash Lumanta
- Pvt. Jomar Gabas
- Pvt. Marcelino Alquisar
- Pvt. Mel Mark Angana
The military chief also clarified that the fatalities among the Armed Forces is only at 49 and not 50, citing a "double count." The death toll as of Wednesday is at 52, including the 3 civilians who died after the plane crashed on the ground.
“This is a very hard task since the cadavers were beyond recognition but we have experts supporting our efforts. We are doing our best to expedite the identification and the ongoing investigation without compromising its credibility,” according to Sobejana.
Eleven of the bodies have already been sent to their hometowns, he said, while the remaining 7 are still being prepared for air and land transport.
He likewise assured the public of transparency with the investigation results, saying that "all factors are being considered" for its accuracy.
Earlier, Sobejana said that the deadly crash prompted them to ground the operations of the country's C-130 fleet, only 1 of which is currently capable to operate.
The Hercules C-130 transport plane was acquired from the United States earlier this year.
While it was not brand new, having been used by the US since 1988, it was in very good condition, officials have said. It also had 11,000 flying hours left.