Problem identifying boat blast remains

Authorities are faced with a dilemma in identifying the dead bodies retrieved from Tarangnan waters in Samar after a boat reportedly carrying around 10 communist rebels figured in a sea clash with government troops early this week.

According to Scene of the Crime Operation personnel, it will take some time to establish the identities of remains as the samples collected for DNA testing would require a DNA match from a relative.

“As of this time, no relatives are showing up to claim a relationship with any of the suspected NPA (New People’s Army) terrorists who engaged government security forces that were on seaborne operations off the coast of Catbalogan, Samar last Aug. 22, 2022,” a statement from the Armed Forces of the Philippines Joint Task Force Storm said.

As of Thursday morning, a military report said another dead body was found floating near the Libacun Gute islet.

An adjacent island Libacun Daku resident said someone from Barangay Cagutsan saw the floating human remains and reported it to village officials at around 6 a.m.

A composite search and retrieval operations team from the Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine National Police, SOCO, and AFP’s Joint Task Force Storm said the remains was a male’s dead body.

Major Gen Edgardo de Leon, JTF Storm commander, said more assets and personnel were already deployed in the area to ramp up the search and retrieval operations.

“We have also asked for help from the Samar Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office to augment the Tarangnan Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office. This way we can speed up our search and retrieval and relieve the people involved in the operations,”De Leon said.

As he expressed gratitude to residents, fishermen, barangay, and municipal officials, he said the use of social media in reporting is a big help.

“The barangay council posted it on their FB (Facebook) account so we immediately responded,” he added.

He said authorities were informed through social media that two more floating human remains were sighted, and a retrieval team has been deployed to check the veracity.

“If that is true, then we would have accounted for four NPA terrorists dead in the off-shore encounter,” he added.

Fishermen found debris from a wrecked motorized boat and the remains of a person floating off the coast of Tarangnan on 23 August, a day after the reported sea encounter between Army soldiers and a group of communist rebels including New People’s Army high-ranking leaders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon.

The retrieval team believes the debris and the human remains were drifted and scattered by a strong current from the boat explosion site.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *