Friday, October 15, 2010

A Repost From Jerrie M. Abella of GMA News.TV

Kin of Pinoys in Afghanistan plane crash grieve over loss

The families of the six Filipinos who died on board a cargo plane that crashed in Afghanistan on Tuesday are still reeling from their loss, even as they struggle to come to grips with the deaths of the heads of their families.

Nela Padura, wife of the plane’s avionics staff Edward Padura, said that while she is still in shock after receiving confirmation of the death of her husband on Wednesday, she is nevertheless trying to be strong for their four children.

"It’s painful but I have to accept it. If I won’t be able to deal with it, our children will be the ones who will suffer," she told GMA News-Cebu’s Vic Serna in a newscast on “24 Oras".

Padura retired from his position as second lieutenant of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) in 2004 to try his luck abroad.

Like him, two other victims were likewise natives of Cordova town in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu: mechanic Bernard Castillo and crewmember Ibelo Valbuena.

Castillo likewise previously was with the PAF before he retired to work as a mechanic in Afghanistan.

His family told GMA News that he had earlier said he will return to the Philippines in December when he finishes his six-month contract, and promised to bring them all to Boracay island, a popular tourist spot.

"I know it is hard to accept but I and my siblings, along with our mother, will have to accept what happened," said Geraldine, one of Castillo’s four children.

The family of Valbuena, meanwhile, declined to be interviewed.

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Pilot Bulos was ‘full of life’

In a separate report by Marisol Abdurahman also on “24 Oras", Ingrid Bulos, wife of Major Henry Bulos who was the plane’s pilot, recalled her last conversation with her husband.

"Full of life lang siya a few days ago and masaya kaming nag-uusap… Gustong-gusto mo na siyang maabot, makausap, tapos biglang nawala," Ingrid said in between sobs. (He was so full of life a few days ago, and we were so happy talking… You’d wanted so much to reach him, to talk to him, then suddenly he’s gone.)

She likewise narrated how difficult it was for her to tell their only daughter that her father won’t be coming home.

"[I told her], you know what, Daddy's not coming back anymore. When they hit the mountain and Daddy stood up, Jesus was there and Jesus said it's time to go," she recounted.

Henry Bulos’s mother Precy likewise told GMA News how difficult it is that her son’s body may no longer be recovered.

"Ilang araw na, hindi pa kami nakakapag-[luksa]. Ano ba ang kakandilaan namin? Ano ang aasahan namin? Abo, mga body parts, pagsasama-samahin, at ike-cremate, magparte-parte na lang kami. Walo kayong magpaparte-parte. Gaano kasakit yun?" she said.

(Days have passed but we have been unable to properly grieve. What will we light candles for? What will we expect? Ashes, body parts, then gather these to be cremated? All of us eight families will have to share the ashes. How painful could that be?)

Seasoned pilots

Bulos’s co-pilot, retired Gen. Rene Badilla, was meanwhile the vice commander of the PAF when he retired in 2009.

In a text message to GMA News, former commanding general of the PAF Pedrito Cadungog expressed his sadness over the death of Badilla, whom he described as a close friend and classmate at the Philippine Military Academy.

PAF spokesperson Miguel Ocol likewise described Bulos and Badilla as two seasoned pilots of the agency.

"(Dalawa) sa mga matitinik naming C130 pilots. Across the PAF, nalungkot kami. Silang dalawa, sila ‘yung tipong pag sinabi mong C130, sila ang maiisip mo," Ocol said.

(They were two of the most seasoned C130 pilots. When you talk about C130, you’ll immediately think of the two of them. Across the PAF, we were all saddened.)

Badillo was a member of the PMA Class 1975, while Bulos graduated from a flight school in 1989.

The PAF said it will give full military honors to both Badilla and Bulos.

The Department of Foreign Affairs meanwhile said while there is an existing labor deployment ban in Afghanistan, filing charges against the six Filipinos’ employers will not be the department’s priority, as they are still working for the immediate repatriation of the victims’ remains.—Jerrie M. Abella/JV, GMANews.TV

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