(UPDATED) The youngest daughter of Bayan Muna Representative Eufemia Cullamat was killed in an encounter with army troopers in Surigao del Sur, the Philippine Army said Sunday, November 29.
A report posted on Kalinaw News, official publication of the army’s Civil-Military Operations Regiment, said the body of Jevilyn Campos Cullamat was left behind after the communist rebels withdrew from the site of the encounter in Barangay San Isidro, Marihatag in Surigao del Sur on Saturday, November 28.
Cullamat, 22, also known as Reb, allegedly served as a medic of the SYP Platoon, Guerilla Force 19 of the New People’s Army (NPA) under the leadership of Ka Coby, or Marion Himo Jr.
Troops of the Philippine Army’s 3rd Special Forces Battalion (3SFBn) engaged in an encounter with about 30 members of the NPA unit for about 45 minutes on Saturday, the army said.
The report included a photo of a female rebel sprawled on the ground. She held a rifle and her face was blurred.
Rep. Cullamat, in a statement Sunday night, called her daughter Jevilyn a "bayani ng mga Lumad at ng buong bayan" (hero of the Lumad and of the entire nation).
"Mahal ang anak ko na nagmahal sa bayan. Ipinagmamalaki ko siya. Bayani siya ng mga Lumad at ng buong bayan," the legislator said.
"Bilang isang ina, basag ang puso ko ngayon sa balitang nasawi ang anak kong si Jevilyn sa isang insidente sa Marihatag, Surigao del Sur. Matindi ang aking pagdadalamhati sa pagkapaslang ng aking bunsong anak," she added.
(I love my daughter, who loved her country. I am proud of her. She was a hero of the Lumad and of the entire nation. As a mother, my heart is broken over her death in the encounter in Marihatag, Surigao del Sur.)
Cullamat condemned the military for allegedly disrespecting the remains of her daughter and asked that her family be allowed to grieve over Jevilyn's death.
"Mariin kong kinokondena ang ginawang pambabastos at pambababoy sa labi ng aking anak. Hindi siya bagay, hindi siya isang tropeo na ipaparada para lamang sa propaganda ng militar," she said.
"Hindi n'yo na ginalang ang patay, binabastos pa ninyo ang nagluluksa naming pamilya. Hinihiling ko sa militar na huwag gamiting tropeo ang bangkay nga aking anak," she added.
She said Jevilyn decided to join the NPA because she witnessed the abuses experienced by the Lumad, or indigenous communities.
"Ang desisyon niyang lumahok sa armadong pakikibaka ay hindi simpleng bagay, at bunga na rin ng pang-aabusong dinanas naming mga Lumad at ang matinding kahirapan na nasaksihan niya," the legislator said.
She said Jevilyn had witnessed the killing by paramilitary groups of Lumad leaders Dionel Campos, Datu Bello Sinzo and Alcadev executive director Emerito Samarca on September 1, 2015.
"Bagama't bilang isang ina ay nag-alala rin ako at masakit ang mawalan ng isang anak, nanaig pa rin ang respeto ko sa naging desisyon ni Jev," she added.
For Cullamat, her daughter did not die in vain.
"Hindi nasayang ang kanyang buhay na inalay niya para sa bayan at para sa pagdepensa ng aming lupang ninuno. Malaking karangalan sa akin na nagkaroon ng isang anak na naging martir at mandirigma," she said.
(She did not die in vain. She offered her life for the country and to defend our ancestral lands. It is my great honor to have a daughter who was a martyr and a fighter.)
"Walang pag-alinlangan kong sasabihin ito: Ipinagmamalaki ko si Jevilyn dahil lumaban siya sa isang sistemang mapang-api lalo na sa aming mga Lumad. Walang nanay na magtatakwil sa anak na nagsantabi ng pansariling interes at nag-alay ng kanyang buhay para sa bayan at para sa pagdepensa sa aming lupang ninuno," she added.
(I say this without hesitation: I am proud of my daughter Jevilyn because she struggled against an oppressive system, especially to us Lumad. No mother will disown a child who has set aside her interests and offered her life for her country and to defend our ancestral lands.) (Marites Villamor-Ilano / SunStar Philippines)