Remains of another passenger of the ill-fated C-130 aircraft arrives home

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CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The remains of Philippine Army Private Jesfel Mequiabas was brought home today, July 17, 2021, in Barangay Mat-i, Claveria, Misamis Oriental today from Zamboanga City.

Pvt. Mequiabas was one of the new graduates from the 4th Infantry Division Training School in Camp Ositio Bahian in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon last June 23, 2021.

Mequiabas died two weeks after the C130 cargo plane crash in Patikul, Sulu last July 4, 2021. According to 4th Infantry Division spokesperson Major Francisco Garello, Jr., Mequiabas passed away on 2 am, July 16, 2021, after a 2-weeks in the critical care unit of Ciudad Medical de Zamboanga.

Mequibas’ uncle, Jerome Dahan said that he traveled from Bacolod City to Zamboanga City arriving on Wednesday, July 15. “He is the son of my sister. His parents cannot come to him because they were quarantined after being a close contact of a Covid-19 case,” Dahan said.

“I was the only one who can get to him, so I took my swab test and then traveled to Zamboanga City,” Dahan said.

Dahan shared that when he got there, Mequiabas was intubated and in critical care. Less than 24-hours after he arrived in the hospital, Mequiabas suffered a cardiac arrest, which resulted in his death.

“Jesfel was in Manila hoping to get a job onboard ships as he was a Maritime Transportation graduate. But he decided to come back home because he felt that he has no luck looking for a job onboard,” Dahan said.

“He joined the army because he wanted to help his family financially, that was his motivation,” Dahan added.

Mequiabas’ auntie Christy Pajela said that his parents wanted so much to be at his side at the hospital, but they were prevented from moving because they were under quarantine.

“Maybe they could have spent more time together. Perhaps he could have lived had his parents in his side, he would have survived,” Pajela said.

Pajela added that they felt that circumstances have stacked against them in getting into Mequibas’ side on time.

Mequiabas was given full military honor and was posthumously awarded the Order of Lapu-lapu by Colonel Michelle Anayron of the 4th ID.

Mequiabas is the 11th army soldier who died in the tragic plane crash that was taken back to 4th Infantry Division and into their different homes. A total of 50 soldiers died of the tragic plane crash, the worst aviation disaster for the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Of the 50 dead, 29 remains already identified and the other remains still undergoing the tedious process of identification to ensure that they are reunited with their families as soon as possible.-Bobby Lagsa

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