Boy, 16, fails to make it to graduation

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Monday, March 3, 2014


“MURA na ko og tawo, ma (Do I look like a human being now, mother)?” Mark Jun Escabas, 16, asked his mother about his new haircut.

“Unsa man diay pagtan-aw nimo sa imong kaugalingon, iro (What do you think of yourself, a dog)?” his mother Magdalena, 55, teased him.

It was one of their regular nighttime bonding before attending to their chores.

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Mark Jun was preparing the bed while his mother was doing the laundry when they heard a cry for help at past 10 p.m. in their neighborhood in Sitio Camolinas, Barangay Poblacion, Cordova.

Mark Jun went out to help. But Magdalena stopped him.

“Kuyawan ko basin maunsa siya kay nagtuo mi naa’y gidunggab (I was afraid because we heard somebody got stabbed),” she told Sun.Star Cebu.

But Mark Jun ignored his mother’s advice. He jumped over a fence and dashed to an old septic tank where the sound came from.

Neighbors

When he got there, he saw that his two neighbors were suffocating inside the six-foot tank.

He tried to save them. But before he could get them out, Mark Jun passed out, fell into the dark water and died.

Mark Jun was a fourth year high school student of Cordova Catholic Cooperative School. He was scheduled to graduate this month and enroll in college. He dreamt of being a geodetic engineer, a profession like his brother.

Magdalena, when interviewed by Sun.Star Cebu, regretted not gripping Mark Jun’s hands tighter.

As the second youngest of nine children, she was overprotective of Mark Jun.

Motorcycles

When her son goes home late at night, Magdalena always fetched him. She didn’t allow Mark Jun to drive motorcycles and discouraged him from drinking and smoking.

“Sa kasobra nako og bantay niya, diha ra diay siya mamatay duol sa amoa. Ang akong kahadlukan, nahitabo gyud (What I feared should happen to him happened),” Magdalena said, crying.

The boy’s eldest sister Junadel, in a separate interview, said Mark Jun was known by his peers as friendly and happy-go-lucky.

“Wala gyud na’y kontrang bataa. Walay bisyo (He didn’t have enemies. He didn’t have any vice),” she said. Mark Jun was also a drummer in his school band.

At his wake, many of his schoolmates came to his house to pay their respect. He will be laid to rest on Saturday.

While looking at his school projects, Junadel found a portfolio made by Mark Jun that piqued their interest. It showed a drawing of a woman who sank at sea to sacrifice her life.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 04, 2014.

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