It’s 1:41 am. It was a busy day for me the whole day. Completing some task for my clients. My inbox is full yet, my heart tells me to write. My tears start to fall as I key in each word while asking God’s holy spirit to guide me. A different mood for me since I started my blogs. Sad indeed!
I don’t know these two souls. I don’t know them. But I feel somehow those students who come to Mindanao State University- Marawi for cheaper education. Much more for these two working students. Working students who can only afford to partly work for extra cheaper education.
Sam and Wilbert, they were working students of the Prelature of Marawi. And amongst the hostages together with Fr. Chito and some parishioner the day of the siege. Lives were sacrificed because of war against the terrorist.
Sam Mangupit he is from Tukuran Zamboanga Del Sur; 5th among the 6 siblings. A fourth-year student who took BSBA Economics in Mindanao State University.
Mrs. Agustina Gumisad (Sam’s mother) said, her son was planning to enter the seminary. Her mother asked him to think it over again and be sure which path he wanted to take first. Then, decided to enter Mindanao State University. He even thought of going into Military service to become like his father. Yet, his main goal was to graduate college. Help the family especially his younger brother in his schooling.
As I was skimming his facebook account, he was young and full of dreams. But his dreams and the families hoped blight the day of Marawi siege. It was 23rd of May when Fr. Chito together with the parishioners, Sam and Wilbert where held hostages. I remember how we kneeled to pray the rosary as a family praying for Marawi and for them that day.
His family and friends expected him to march and get his diploma at the end of this school year. It whirl into a dreadful march to a battle when he was used as ISIS warrior. It was 3rd of September; Sam together with other ISIS hid in the building that was struck by an airstrike. It collapsed which caused his death.
As stated by Fr. Edwin Dela Pena “The place where he was assigned as sentry took a direct hit from air strike which led to his death. Fr. Chito witnessed how it happened on Sept 3 @ 9:00 am. He was one of our two working students and the first to go.”
I asked Sam’s mother how did she feel with the tragic incident? I was touched by a very humble mother’s message:
As a mother, “My sorrow and pain are immeasurable, In spite all, I entrust everything to God and his purpose for what happened. I do hope that we can reflect on this turmoil. Our worldly possessions will be invaluable when the time comes.”
On the other hand, Wilbert Pasiorco, known by the name Wing to his friends and families. His abductors also called him Wing. Primitively from Cebu and moved to Surigao year 2012. He had his 22nd last birthday in the hands of the terrorist; 18th of September 2017. And believed to have died 9 days after his birthdate; 27th of September 2017. It was the day when a tunnel in Raya Madaya was hit by an airstrike. The place Wing together with the ISIS hid – according to one of the survived hostages.
Before that incident, according to Fr. Chito, he was hit by a shrapnel in his breast and in his left forehead. After it happened father Chito said. “Wing if will ni God nga mabuhi ka. Mabuhi Ka. Pray lng.” ( “If it’s God’s will that you will live. You will live. Just Pray.” ).
Then in joke Maute interrupted:
Maute: ana Wing, ilagay ka namin sa frontline.
Wing: Pg ilagay nyo ako sa frontline wala na kayong kuryente. Wala na kayong tubig.
Maute: Joke lang yon.
Fr. Chito said hostages were not allowed to talk to each other. They tried to conversate through whisper when lying down to sleep.
The night fr. Chito was able to run away and rescued, Wing was with many ISIS hence he was not able to take the chance to talk with him. That was the last time he saw Wing.
Wing was trusted by ISIS in turning on the generator for the light and water, give food to the hostages. He was also tasked to carry wounded ISIS. He even advised one of the hostages not to make any false movement like escaping, for their own safety.
Wing was a student in College of Fisheries. He took up BS Fisheries Technology major in Aquaculture. His brother Emannuel Pisiorco who happened to be a friend. He was also an alumnus in MSU and an OFW. He said, his brother dreamt to finish college, go abroad, build a house for his parents and aunt. He wanted to help a neighbor who gave him milk when he was 6 days old; the time his mother has no enough breastmilk to feed.
I knew kuya Eman, wanted his brother to stay in the chaplaincy. The church has helped so much of his growth as a student, a person and for safety as well. Not knowing that the families hoped for a better future turned to tragedy. That agony of the family since day one until one of the hostages confirmed that he is dead! It pains so much to the families and friends and the Catholic Community.
Sam and Wing are the two souls that have gone so soon, they were the few silent victims of this war. They and their families were not connected to any of the people with a position in Marawi or in the Government. They were strangers and considered as the minority in the place.
Kuya Eman was only able to communicate through facebook and calls. Trying to connect of who could possibly be of help to them.
That feeling when you are not able to personally assist and follow up your brother’s whereabouts? It was important to make a living as a breadwinner of the family.
We are appealing to the Government to remember them in your list of victims. Please include them in your priorities for the retrieval operation. They have sacrificed their lives to make others live.
We hope and pray that they’d be the last student; the silent minority to die helplessly in this place.
Let us stand against terrorism and let’s start it from our own homes, guard our children’s values and faith. That they may not be like the terrorist who caused the distraction to their own city and country. Drag civilians in their hunger for power. The terrorist who plot their own pit of death. Whose heart was full of anger and greediness. These were sad soul indeed!
Let us stand against terrorism and let’s start it from our own homes, guard our children’s values and faith. That they may not be like these two souls whose lives were made to sacrifice. Their families whose worries agonized for 5 months or so. Raped and beheaded. A kid that was struck by a stray bullet while praying in the mosque. Homeless, lost ancestral properties, distressed. Or, be like the families of the soldiers who were helpless to accept death in an exchange of our liberty. Sad indeed!
Never again! Never Again! Start from our own hearts, our homes and in our small communities.
Caution: This post is not for your political argument. If you have political concerns please do not post here. Respect this post for the bereaved families and the coping hostages. May we offer prayers instead and help if we can.