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June 06, 2022


Serving as a perpetual reminder of football star Kieth Absalon who was mercilessly killed by the New People's Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines - National Democratic Front (CPP-NDF) exactly a year from today (June 6), a monument to honor his exemplary life was unveiled at the Masbate Sports Complex.

In commemoration of his first death anniversary, Vilma Absalon, the mother of Kieth, said, "Ito ay magpapa-alala sa aking anak. Napakasakit man ng pangyayari na di malilimutan kailanman. Magsisilbi ito sa mga kabataan, na ang sports ay maaaring daan para makapag-aral,” during a special press briefing of the National Task Force to End Local Communists Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) also held in Masbate.

"His short-lived life will serve as an inspiration to Masbateños, that there is a future in sports. I am really happy to be part of this commemoration, and the journey of Kieth and his education, how he got to FEU," Nene Merioles, Masbate School Superintendent who also knew Absalon as a student, said.

Merioles said that even before the pandemic and the tragic incident that befell the Absalon cousins, provincial schools have been encouraging students to be involved in sports, citing Kieth's achievements, who even at a young age of 12-years-old was already a scholar. Through football, Kieth was also able to get a college scholarship with the Far Eastern University (FEU) where he was eventually awarded the Most Valuable Player (MVP) title.

Investigation revealed that Kieth, together with his cousin Nolven and some friends and relatives were biking in the area when the NPA deliberately detonated an anti-personnel mine. Kieth and Nolven were severely wounded and as they were lying on the ground with their hands raised, the two begged for mercy. But their pleas fell on deaf ears when they were mercilessly shot to death by NPA rebels whose aim was to sow fear and terror in Masbate. At the time of his death, Kieth was only 21 years old.

The NPA thereafter issued a statement admitting the killing of the Absalons.

The Monument

Before the unveiling of the monument, NTF-ELCAC spokesperson and Communications Undersecretary Lorraine Marie Badoy read the inscription during the presscon.

In part, the inscription read, “Kieth took his place and stood shoulder to shoulder with other gladiators and kicked soil to make that ball rocket to the stratosphere and to countless victories. He showed us just how beautiful it is when we are able to keep promises we make to ourselves and make our dreams happen. In that moment Kieth was transcendent. And there was much he taught us.”

“His light was momentarily dimmed by monsters who have stolen our children from us and eaten them whole. And there was nothing we could do to protect them. We weep at this loss and the loss of each child we allowed to be devoured by this evil beast. And we are sorry that we had become the kind of people who would allow this many times over,” the inscription read.

Police, Army update

The Philippine National Police (PNP) meanwhile, gave an update in the case and said that they have already arrested two suspects, most recently Rolly Hermina, an NPA fighter belonging to Larangan 1, Komite ng Probinsya 4, under the command of Eddie Rosero, alias “Ka Star,” operating in the second district of the province.

Colonel Rayan Ador, Chief of the Regional Investigation and Detective Management Division of Police Regional Office 5, said intensified manhunt operations are continuing to get the other suspects.

LtCol. Siegfried Felipe Awichen, Commander of the 2nd Infantry Brigade said a year passed and they are still awaiting the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) to make good their promise to hand over the perpetrators of these heinous killings.

"We're still conducting continuous operations to hunt them down and bring to justice those who are responsible. Series of encounters have severely disrupted the CTG operations in the province," Felipe said.

LtC Benjamin Lonogan, Commander of the 96th Infantry Brigade, 9ID on the other hand, encouraged Masbateños to assist them in eradicating the communist scourge in Masbate which has brought nothing but misery and hardship to the people.

Mother's plea

Absalon's mom, Vilma after acknowledging those who helped built the monument, particularly officials of NTF-ELCAC and other government agencies, pleaded that the next administration of newly elected President Ferdinand "Bong Bong" Marcos Jr. to continue outgoing President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s whole-of-nation approach to end the more than five-decades of terrorism courtesy of the CTGs.

"Ipagpatuloy po sana ninyo ang NTF-ELCAC at ang aming laban sa mga komunistang-terorista, para sa ating mga kabataan," Absalon's mother pleaded.



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