TACLOBAN CITY – A soldier, who went missing during a Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HADR) operation, has died in San Isidro, Northern Samar.

Corporal Jerry Palacio of the 43rd Infantry Battalion (43IB), assigned at the Happy Valley Patrol Base in Sitio KM7, was on his way to Brgy. Poblacion when he was swept away by the raging water while crossing the concrete bridge in Sitio KM6. 

He was en route to the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO) in San Isidro to coordinate with the other agencies, and to monitor the effects of the continuous rains brought about by the shear line and low pressure area.

Corporal Palacio was reportedly dragged downstream and went missing on January 9, 2023.

The 43IB, together with the Philippine National Police and Philippine Coast Guard, immediately launched a joint search, rescue, and retrieval operation for the victim. 

The said operations team together with civilian volunteers located the cadaver of Corporal Palacio at Mauo River, Sitio Marasbaras, Happy Valley, which is some three kilometers away from the incident area on January 11, 2023.

Major General Camilo Ligayo, Commander of the 8th Infantry “Stormtroopers” Division in a statement on Thursday (January 12), said the Philippine Army will provide appropriate support and assistance to the bereaved family.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Corporal Palacio’s family and loved ones during this difficult time. He died trying to save the people of Northern Samar,” read the statement.

“Despite the unfortunate incident, the Army will continue to deliver its mandate of performing HADR operations in affected areas to save lives,” Maj. Gen. Ligayo added.  The victim’s body was brought to the Municipal Health Office for postmortem examination before its turnover to his family in Brgy. Chitongco, Mondragon, Northern Samar. By Marie Tonette Marticio (EV Mail January 9-15, 2023 issue)