For Those Who Served and Died

Our kailiyans who died
to ensure a peaceful election
Pfc. Peter Gumbal of Pinukpuk, Kalinga
Pfc. Harvey Bumangit of Aguinaldo, Ifugao
and Pfc. Renante Barcena of Manabo, Abra
CAFGU Florentino Falkiw of Manabo, Abra

and those from other parts of the country
2Lt. Mark Evan Onrubia of Zamboanga City
Sgt. Edmund Soriano of Angadanan, Isabela
Cpl. Antonio Gestiada of Gattaran, Cagayan

Despite the tragedy that we have a President who cheated her way to Malacañang, despite the general incompetence of the Commission on Elections (thankfully our kailiyan Commissioner Romeo Brawner has been one of the saving graces of this distrusted agency), and despite the fact that the political power in our country is controlled by a few family dynasties, the Philippines still continues to have a semblance of democracy.

This is so mostly because of the dedicated work of ordinary people: the teachers tasked to oversee the polls amidst a pressured-packed political atmosphere, the NAMFREL/PPCRV volunteers who try their damnedest best to safeguard the ballots against politicians who are tying their damnedest best to cheat, and media people who also serve as watchdogs by merely reporting election-related irregularities. Of course, we should also include the soldiers and policemen who play a crucial role in maintaining peace and order and in preventing the violence that pops up, like Sagada mushrooms after a rain, every time elections are held.

Last May 16, some of our kailiyans in the military who were in Abra to hopefully avert the escalation of violence in that hotspot were themselves the victims of violence. Read the report here. Sadly, because most of us were too pre-occupied with things such as who won, who lost, who cheated, who attempted to cheat, etc, etc., not much is being said about these soldiers who died while serving their country.

This post is our humble attempt to honor them for their work and to offer our condolences to their families. We hope that at the very least politicians, whether they won or lost, will visit the families of these soldiers. We certainly owe them that honor.

Again, our condolences to the families of these soldiers. And we are hoping that those who are wounded (Cpl. Esteban Langkay of Tuguegarao City, Cpl. Dante Estrada of Isabela and Pfc. Bobster Banatao of Pinukpuk, Kalinga) in this incident will survive their wounds.

4 thoughts on “For Those Who Served and Died”

  1. Hi Bill,

    Amen to that. It bothers me when I read the news wires and they all start a body count then turn around and say, “but it’s been peaceful for Philippine standards”. Huh?! One death is too many in my opinion. I just hope that our country men will not be so enured as to let this practice continue.

    My sincere condolence to all the families left to grieve. What a tragic loss, indeed.

  2. It is very odd and it saddens me, that for others glory there are people whose lives are put in to danger and/or lost.

    Condolence to the families left to grieve… They are heroes for safeguarding not only this election but the future of our children. Agbiag!

  3. I hope that those who are celebrating their victory at this time will remember the people who sarificed their lives and use them as inspiration for the betterment of the country.

    My prayers to those who are mourning the loss of a love one.

  4. Hi Omon,
    Thanks. I agree that one death is too many. And it’s not even true that the recent elections is peaceful by Philippine standards. I think it’s one of the bloodiest since Marcos was kicked out in 1986.

    Hi Anonymous,
    Thanks. Yup, its really sad. Ideally, elections should only be about counting votes, not counting election-related deaths. Sadly, the reality in the Philippines is that there is a parallel death count during elections. Agbiag tayo amin!

    Hi Majik,
    Thanks. I agree, sana those winners will think not only of themselves but also of the families of those who served and died in these elections.

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