In this photo released by Karapatan Southern Tagalog on its Facebook page on September 9, 2020, the families of the "Brooke's Point 5" can be seen filling out forms for the issuance of the death certificates. // Image file from Karapatan Southern Tagalog


The remains of Andrea “Ka Naya” Rosal, daughter of the late spokesperson of the Communist Party of Philippines (CPP), Gregorio “Ka Roger” Rosal; and Rona Jane “Rjei” Manalo, former secretary-general of Gabriela Southern Tagalog, were set to be cremated in this city, after they were killed in an armed encounter with the military forces in southern Palawan town of Brooke’s Point on September 3.

Lawyer Teodoro Jose Matta, program director of the provincial peace and order program, said that the relatives of the four suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA) have identified the bodies late Tuesday.

“Si Mr. Manalo [father] at saka ‘yong kamag-anak ni Ka Naya, opted to have Ka Naya and Rjei (Rona) cremated here in Puerto Princesa. Pero ‘yong dalawa, I think i-uuwi pa nila ‘yong mga katawan,” Matta said in a phone interview on Wednesday morning.

Kyle Salgado, paralegal of Karapatan Southern Tagalog (KST) assisting the family members, in a separate phone interview, once again called for “compassion from the city government” who has insisted that the relatives complete at least seven days of quarantine, in compliance to the protocol enforced in the city for individuals coming from outside Palawan. The “humanitarian team”, composed of the family members and Karapatan representatives, arrived in Puerto Princesa International Airport (PPIA) from Metro Manila on September 5, and are expected to complete their quarantine until Saturday (September 12).

“This is different from the set regulations by the Palawan local government unit (LGU), which has since cleared the family to leave once the bodies have been successfully retrieved by the families,” Karapatan said in a statement.

Lawyer Arnel Pedrosa, city administrator, insisted that the local government of Puerto Princesa has “no part whatsoever” other than following the quarantine protocol being asked of the group.

“We receive no request from them. We will act only if there is a letter or request from them,” Pedrosa said in a text message to Palawan News.

The cremation of the remains of Rosal and Manalo was yet to be set after the “necessary documents and quarantine requirements have been complied with,” according to Matta.

Rosal’s relative said that her ashes would be flown to Ibaan, Batangas, while Manalo’s father said the remains would be brought home to Sariaya, Quezon. Bonifacio “Salvador Luminoso” Magramo, believed to be the secretary of the sub-regional military guerilla unit under the Southern Tagalog Regional Party Committee (STRPC) will be flown in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro.

“Wala kaming naiisip sa ngayon na filing cases. Nakikipag-coordinate kami with authorities para mas mapabilis ang pag-uuwi ng mga labi, mabigyan ng burol kahit dalawa o tatlong araw. Kailangan ma-fly na tomorrow at hindi na patagalin ng Sabado,” Salgado said.

Gabriela Southern Tagalog, in a statement issued on Tuesday, accused the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Southern Luzon Command (Solcom) of “sullying the name” of Manalo, whom they said died as a “martyr”, was being accused as a revolutionary student and environmental activist, and a community organizer.

This was in response to the social media statement by Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., commander of AFP Solcom, asking Cristina Palabay of Karapatan to “explain why an activist like [Manalo]” was caught in the said “violent incident”.

“Why was an activist like Ren [Manalo] was there in a violent incident in Palawan if she is not a terrorist like Alyas Eboy and the rest of the NPAs killed? You have been complaining of being red-tagged, so aren’t you?” the statement from Civil Relations Service of AFP said.

Manalo, Magramo, and Rosal were among the six individuals, including a Palaweño soldier, Staff sergeant Cesar Barlas of the Force Recon Group of the 3rd Marine Brigade, killed in an armed conflict in Sitio Kubuyoan, Barangay Mainit in Brooke’s Point.