Bodies of 2 soldiers killed in Jolo blasts arrive in Cagayan

The remains of two government soldiers, who were among those who perished in the August 24 blasts in Jolo, Sulu, arrived in flag-draped caskets via a C-130 plane at the Tuguegarao airport on August 26, 2020.

FALLEN SOLDIERS. The flag-draped coffins of Staff Sergeant Louie Cuarteros of Tuguegarao City and Staff Sergeant Manuelito Oria of Tabuk City, Kalinga — both under the 21st Infantry Battalion assigned in Jolo, Sulu — arrive at the Tuguegarao City airport on Wednesday (Aug. 26, 2020). The two soldiers were among those killed in the twin explosions in Jolo last Aug. 24, 2020. (Photo courtesy of 17th Infantry Battalion, Phil. Army)

Maj. Noriel Tayaban, Philippine Army’s 5th Infantry Division spokesperson, identified the two slain Army troops as Staff Sergeant Louie Cuarteros of Barangay Cataggaman Nuevo, this city, and Staff Sergeant Manuelito Oria of Tabuk City, Kalinga. Both were under the 21st Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army assigned in Jolo, Sulu.

“Staff Sergeant Cuarteros and his comrades died giving their last breath in serving the people and securing the land. May their souls rest in peace,” Tayaban said.

The fallen soldiers received arrival honors and were immediately brought to their respective family’s houses here and in Tabuk City, he added.

Carolyn Cuarteros, the wife of Louie, said she was shocked upon learning that her husband was one of those killed in the blasts. She said prior to the explosions, her husband called and told her to stock up on food as the community quarantine was still in effect.

She appealed for at least a three-day wake as the city government has only allowed two days under the modified enhanced community quarantine. She also called for “swift justice” for the slain soldiers and abhorred the “dastardly act of the bandits”.

Carolyn said if not for his untimely death, Louie would have been home by September to celebrate their birthdays and that of their nine-year-old child.

Cuartero served the country for 20 years as an Army soldier under the 21st Infantry Battalion. (Villamor Visaya, Jr., PNA)

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