The city government has decided to ease its quarantine protocols to allow the relatives of slain New People’s Army (NPA) members to bring their bodies to their respective home provinces.
This, after the relatives who arrived in the city over the weekend accompanied by members of Karapatan Southern Tagalog, appealed to city officials. They were earlier held in a hotel for mandatory quarantine in line with existing COVID-19 protocols.
The bodies of the slain rebels had been brought to the city straight to a funeral parlor from Brooke’s Point in Southern Palawan where the encounter took place on September 3.
Lawyer Arnel Pedrosa, city administrator, maintained that the local government of Puerto Princesa was merely following quarantine protocols and decided to ease it after the city government received the request on Wednesday.
“Pinayagan na ang request ng mga relatives to claim the cadavers of those killed in the encounter in Brooke’s Point and to bring the remains to their respective hometown. The request was received past noontime,” Pedrosa said in a text message to Palawan News.
Kyle Salgado, paralegal of Karapatan, said the relatives of Andrea Rosal, daughter of the late spokesperson of the Communist Party of Philippines (CPP), Gregorio “Ka Roger” Rosal; Rona Jane “Ren” Manalo, former secretary-general of Gabriela Southern Tagalog; Bonifacio “Salvador Luminoso” Magramo, believed to be the secretary of sub-regional military guerilla unit under southern Tagalog regional party committee; and Noel “Ka Celso” Siasico, front operational command, have decided to fly the remains home.
Their “humanitarian team”, composed of five paralegals from Karapatan and the relatives of the slain NPA members, have been held for five days in Puerto Princesa City due to the enforced strict quarantine measures by the local government for individuals arriving from outside the mainland Palawan. The group arrived at Puerto Princesa International Airport on September 5 and was supposed to complete at least seven days of quarantine at Rockstar Inn in Barangay San Miguel, this city.
“The relatives decided to bring the cadavers home, instead of having them cremated so the friends and families could host a wake and proper burial,” Salgado said in Filipino.
Rosal’s remains would be brought home in Ibaan, Batangas, while Magramo and Siasico will be transported to Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro. Manalo will be brought home by his father who personally claimed the body to Sariaya, Quezon. The remains of Jay-ar Sento, believed to be a native of Palawan, is yet to be claimed by his relatives.
(With a report from Ruth Rodriguez)