LEGAZPI CITY: Army Private First Class Reymart Carloto of Barangay Cogon, Gubat Sorsogon was supposed to go home to visit his family in the next few months.
But on Monday, Carloto, 26, went home to Bicol ahead of his visit in a sealed full metal bronze casket with a flag draped on it.
His body was flown by Philippine Air Force Fokker plane from Laguindingan International Airport to Tactical Operations Group 5, Philippine Air Force headquarters in Legazpi City.
Caloto’s mother, Maria, went to Zamboanga on May 21 from Bicol to visit his younger son serving the military who has been away for almost two years. She also visited the family of her eldest daughter Ria in Mindanao.
Maria and Ria were both crying while Reymart’s body was being unloaded from the plane by his comrade-in-arms with full military honors accorded to him.
“I hope that the war in Mindanao will be over. I hope peace will be really attained in Mindanao so that there will be no family left orphan or soldiers killed in the ongoing fighting with the terrorists,” Maria told The Manila Times in an interview here.
Carloto was assigned with the Army’s 51st Infantry Battalion based in Camarines Sur enlisted as regular force in 2014 and was sent to Marawi City to fight the Maute Group on May 23.
He was the first Bicolano soldier killed in action on June 2 during the Marawi siege.
Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal, concurrent chairman of the Regional Peace in Order Council (RPOC), said during the hero’s welcome for Carloto that his death is a wake-up call as the incident in Mindanao might happen in any part of the country.
Army Captain Randy Llunar, spokesman for the Army’s 9th Infantry Division, said Carloto was a former ROTC officer at Sorsogon State College taking up a computer course but did not finish schooling and instead joined the military force.