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Saturday, September 21, 2019

Marine soldier 'buried' with extremists, civilians

ILIGAN CITY -- A suspected Philippine Marine was among the 27 unclaimed cadavers recovered from the main battle area in Marawi City who were all buried in public Muslim cemetery here on Tuesday morning, September 5.

Danny Capin, owner of Capin Funeral Home, said a Marine who happened to visit the funeral parlor recognized the uniformed body with a black belt bag.

Capin said the Marine suspected the body was that of his comrade who was declared missing for two months and whose decomposing body was found in Rorog Agus.

The 27 cadavers were laid to rest in Maqbarah Muslim cemetery in the village of Papandayan, Marawi City and accorded Muslim burial rites.

Capin said the cadavers were given individual codes following DNA testing by Scene of the Crime Operatives (Soco) medical experts.

Asked about the burial, Assemblyman Zia Alonto Adiong said the ceremony was coordinated and approved by the military of the Joint Task Force Marawi, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Team, Marawi Rescue Team, and the Provincial Crisis Management Committee (PCMC).

Adiong said the burial passed through a process undertaken by the Management of Dead and Missing Cluster of the PCMC in coordination with the Soco, the Philippine National Police Crime laboratory and the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

"We appeal to the public especially those who have relatives and kin who are still missing to approach the Provincial Crisis Management Committee or the Missing Person Center in Iligan City and submit swab samples for the ante mortem procedure," Adiong said.

Adiong said one other option is to report or contact the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to report the identities of their missing relatives.

Saripada Lucman Pacasum Jr., chief of Lanao del Sur Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office, said the cadavers were all given a decent burial with individual tombs and not placed in a mass grave.

"Five more newly arrived cadavers in Iligan City are with gunshot wounds fresh from the MBA and are subject to DNA testing are not yet included in the burial rites,” Pacasum said.

"We are preparing for a large scale of human remains retrieval operations once the firefight in the MBA is over and the retrieval training has been going for this purpose in coordination with the ICRC,” Pacasum said.

The military had earlier confirmed that some of the cadavers belong to ISIS-linked extremists who fought with the government forces for more than three months now.
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