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Leyte marks 2nd year commemoration of Inopacan mass grave exhumation

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
August 27, 2008

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte  –  Leyte Governor and Provincial Peace and Order Council Chairman Hon. Carlos Jericho “Icot” L. Petilla will be the main speaker during the commemorative program for the 2nd anniversary of Inopacan Mass Grave Exhumation which will be held at the Municipal Covered Court of Inopacan, Leyte on August 28.

Remains of the mass grave in Inopacan, LeyteAside from delivering his message, Governor Petilla will also award the cash reward to five former NPA officers and members who surrendered and returned into the folds of the law. The cash rewards from the Provincial Government of Leyte will hopefully help the surrenderees in their re-integration to the civil society.

The commemoration will start with a Holy Mass at Baybay City Gymnasium at 6:30 in the morning. This will be followed by a mass rally and wreath laying at the tombstone at Baybay City Cemetery; after which, a Caravan will be conducted from Baybay Cemetery to the Inopacan Covered Court.

The Commemorative Program will start an Invocation to be led by CPT Rey Victor Vigo, the command chaplain of the 8th Infantry Division. Congresswoman Carmen Cari of the 5th District of Leyte will give the opening message.

Police Regional Office 8 Director P/C Supt Abner Cabalquinto and Lt. General Pedro Ike Insierto, commander of the AFP Central Command will both deliver their respective commemorative message.

One of the highlights of the commemoration is the Re-enactment of the Inopacan Massacre which will be followed with a testimonial speech of a representative from the relatives of the victims.

It would be recalled that the whole country was shocked when on August 28, 2006, troopers from the Army’s 802nd Infantry Brigade, after two days of digging, found 67 skeletons in a mass gravesite in the killing field known to the residents in the nearby barangays as “the garden” located some 370 meters above sea level at a ridge on Mt. Sapang Dako, in the hinterland of Inopacan, Leyte.

The troopers were led to the Garden by some nearby residents and former members of the NPA who claimed that they themselves witnessed the purging. One even demonstrated how the victims who were suspected of being military assets, were tortured to death.