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Napo evacuees return to farms, try to bring back lives before clash

By: Benjie Talisic, Doris C. Bongcac April 15,2017 - 10:21 PM

Residents of Barangay Napo, Inabanga town in Bohol province flee from their homes at the height of the encounter between government forces and suspected Abu Sayyaf members. (INQUIRER)

Residents of Barangay Napo, Inabanga town in Bohol province flee from their homes at the height of the encounter between government forces and suspected Abu Sayyaf members. (INQUIRER)

AFTER the armed encounter between government troops and suspected Abu Sayyaf members in Inabanga town in Bohol province, evacuees from Barangay Napo are trying to bring some normalcy back in their lives.

Most of the evacuees from Barangay Napo have already returned to their homes to feed their animals and till their farms.

Others joined Good Friday procession and participated in other Holy Week activities at the St. Paul de Apostle parish in Barangay Poblacion and the St. Isidore Church in Barangay Cawayan.

But there are still those who would opt to return to their designated evacuation centers to spend the night there because of fear for their safety, said Inabanga Information Officer Frank Baylosis.

“Mahadlok gihapon ang mga tawo kay wala pa may official announcement nga pwede na sila mobalik sa ilang mga balay. Nagsige pa man ang clearing operations (Residents continue to fear for their safety because there is still no official announcement [from the government] that it is already safe for them to go home. Clearing operations are still on going),” Baylosis told Cebu Daily News in a phone interview.

Baylosis said that while the last round of bombings were made on Wednesday yet, government troops continue to scour Barangay Napo and neighboring barangays to search for armed men who escaped from Tuesday’s encounter.

Elderly couple’s burial

The municipal government of Inabanga also facilitated the burial of couple Constantina, 68, and Constancio Petalco, 66, at the Cawayan Public Cemetery at around 2 p.m. on Good Friday.

The couple’s bodies were found on Wednesday near the encounter site.

Baylosis confirmed that the couple are Barangay Napo residents. But he did not have any information on their alleged involvement with suspected Abu Sayyaf members who entered their town on Monday.

According to initial reports, Constancio went back to his house to get his wife who is unable to walk.

Baylosis, however, said that they were still waiting for the official report of the police on the presence of the couple in the area during the firefight.

“We will have to wait for the official report from the PNP on the couple’s involvement and why they were in the area while the exchange of gunfire was ongoing,” he told CDN in Cebuano.

On Good Friday, the couple were placed in a white coffin and buried at the Cawayan Public Cemetery.

At around the same time, three suspected Abu Sayyaf members and their leader Abu Rami, whose remains were wrapped in white cloth, were also buried at the Lutao Public Cemetery.

Baylosis said relatives of the elderly couple went to the municipal hall on Friday morning to speak with Mayor Josephine Jumamoy and ask for help.

He said that relatives would have wanted to wait for the return of their children – Sally and Marlon – so they could bid their parents goodbye.

Need to bury

But Mayor Jumamoy informed on the phone the couple’s children, who reside outside Bohol province, of the need to already bury their parents because these are already in an advance state of decomposition.

Town officials have also started to worry of the effects of the decomposing bodies on other residents health especially since they had already started to smell.

Relief goods

Baylosis said that while clearing operations continue, the municipal government will continue to provide relief goods to families who remain in evacuation centers.

They also give food support to government troops who remain in their town.

Evacuees, Baylosis said, will also be made to undergo debriefing as soon as the AFP, PNP clearing operations come to an end.

Lourdes dela Torre, officer-in-charge of the Municipal Social Welfare Development Office in Inabanga town, said at least 300 families are still staying in seven evacuation centers in the town.

Dela Torre said that they had given relief goods to the affected families.

These included rice, canned goods, water, mosquito nets and blankets.

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TAGS: Abu Sayyaf, army, bohol, clash, encounter, evacuees, Inabanga, military, Napo, residents, war

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