Families with missing kin troop to police

FOLLOWING the discovery of eight bodies along Marcos Highway, people have been trooping to the Benguet Provincial Police Office in search of missing relatives.

Police Colonel Elmer Ragay, Benguet Provincial Police Office (BPPO) officer-in-charge, said DNA samples were being matched to those of the remaining five unidentified bodies.

"We had clients coming as far as Bulacan, Dagupan, Rizal who gave their DNA samples," he added. "I could only surmise that the five bodies are not from here."

Family members earlier identified three out of the eight retrieved bodies as Alfredo Domilos Lamenta Jr. also known as Junie Batang-e from Tadian, Mt. Province who was reported missing on September 24.

Two others were identified as Fahad Manan Macalanggan, 28, native of Marawi City, and Kent Charlie Licyayo, 22, native of Ifugao. Both were residents of Baguio City.

Police Major James Acod, Tuba Municipal Police Station chief, said that almost 10 families have visited their police station alone and submitted DNA samples.

Acod added the families are residents of Santa Ana in Rizal, Loakan in Baguio City, San Jose del Monte in Bulacan, among others.

Acod said three of the five remains are in an advanced stage of decomposition. Two skeletal bodies were buried in Barangay Poblacion in Tuba, Benguet last week.

The DNA samples collected will be transmitted to the Provincial Crime Laboratory Office for examination. The results will be released in 30 days.

The BPPO has also reached out to neighboring police offices for any information on reported missing persons in their respective areas of responsibility that can help fast track the identification of cadavers.

The eight bodies were found on October 15 and 16 in an estimated 30-meter deep ravine along Marcos Highway in Sitio Poyopoy, Taloy Sur, Tuba in Benguet.

The 47.17-kilometer national highway traverses the municipality of Tuba in Benguet, and the municipalities of Pugo, Tubao, and Agoo in La Union.

Governor Melchor Diclas said he has already talked to Tuba Mayor Clarita Sal-ongan on the installation of a fence and surveillance cameras in the area.

The governor added that streetlights will also be installed as was done on Halsema Highway, another major thoroughfare in the province. The lights have deterred highway robberies in Halsema.


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