By JUSTIN UMALI
SANTA ROSA, Laguna – Naneth Indanan wanted to see her cousin, Andrea Rosal, and bring her remains home. However, Puerto Princesa officials have told her and the other families she’s with that they cannot see their loved ones just yet.
Indanan is one of the family members who travelled to Palawan to claim the remains of five New People’s Army guerrilas killed in an armed encounter with the Armed Forces of the Philippines , Sept. 3.
According to a video statement posted by human rights watchdog Karapatan Southern Tagalog, the families are being required to undergo a 14-day quarantine on their arrival to Puerto Princesa. Karapatan TK is currently assisting the families in claiming the remains.
“I was so excited to get out of here and go home with Andrea,” Indanan said in the video statement, “But now it feels like they’re detaining us.”
The group arrived in Puerto Princesa, Palawan on September 5 and underwent rapid antibody testing in accordance to quarantine protocols, where they all tested negative. They were then shuttled to the Roccksar Pension Hotel in barangay San Miguel by the Palawan Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office, ostensibly so they could stay the night.
The next day, as the team was preparing to leave, they were informed that they had to undergo a 14-day quarantine. Palawan’s Provincial Incident Management Team also sent a text message stating that they needed a clearance from the AFP Western Command for any activity they had in the city.
According to Puerto Princesa’s protocols for people travelling to the city, “all resident and non-resident APORs [authorized person outside of residence] shall undergo a facility-based quarantine for a period of ten to fourteen days, when their stay in Puerto Princesa City will exceed seven days.”
The families are asking for “compassion” and assistance in claiming the remains of their loved ones.
“We are not looking for special treatment,” said Kyle Salgado, Karapatan ST spokesperson. “We’re simply asking the local government to assist these families in claiming the remains of their loved ones.”
Orlando Manalo, father of Rona Jane Manalo, was in tears as he appealed to those who could help. “I just want to bring my daughter home and give her a decent burial,” he said in a video posted
by Karapatan ST.
As of press time, the families and Karapatan’s paralegal team are still in the Roccksar Pension Hotel. The remains are in Heaven’s Gate Memorial Palace, Brgy. San Pedro, less than three kilometers away from the hotel.
Who were the slain individuals?
On September 3, an encounter between the New People’s Army and the Armed Forces of the Philippines transpired in Brgy. Mainit, Brooke’s Point, Palawan. Five NPA soldiers and one marine were slain.
According to reports by WESCOM, among those slain were Bonifacio Magramo, Andrea Rosal, Rona Jane Manalo, Noel Siasico, and another individual whose identity remains unconfirmed.
Andrea was the daughter of Gregorio “Ka Roger” Rosal, former spokesperson of the NPA’s Melito Glor Command, and dubbed the “Voice of the Philippine Revolution.” In 2014, she was illegally detained on trumped up charges of kidnapping and murder. She was seven months pregnant at the time, and gave birth to a daughter while in detention – Diona Andrea, who unfortunately passed away due to complications at birth.
Rosal spent 18 months in jail before charges against her were eventually junked.
Rona Jane Manalo was a former rights advocate turned revolutionary. She championed women’s rights and was secretary-general of Gabriela Southern Tagalog before she took up the cause of the indigenous people in Mindoro and Palawan.
She organized opposition to corporate incursions of indigenous land for mining projects, such as Intex Mindoro Nickel in Mindoro, and Rio Tuba Nickel Mining and Coral Bay Nickel Corporation, both in Palawan. Manalo was also one of the convenors of the Free Andrea Rosal Movement and tried to have Rosal’s case dismissed.