Edmon Arellano, husband of Davao blast victim_2

Edmon Arellano, husband of Ma. Luz, who was one of the casualties of the deadly bombing in Davao City says he will volunteer to fight the terrorist group who could be responsible for the explosion. (Zea Io Ming C. Capistrano/davaotoday.com)

DAVAO CITY — Couple Ma. Luz and Edmon Arellano were planning a beach celebration for Ma. Luz’ 29th birthday on September 15. That was the last conversation of the couple.

Ma. Luz was among the massage therapists killed in the deadly blast along Roxas Avenue night market here on September 2.

Now, Edmon, who works as a security guard at a shopping station said he is volunteering himself to fight terrorists who could possibly be responsible for the blast.

“To those responsible for the blast that killed my wife, if President Rodrigo Duterte will allow me to fight the Abu Sayyaf, I will not back down,” Arellano told Davao Today in an interview on Tuesday noon.

“I will fight you if the President would allow me to join the military and serve the country. Mr. President allow me, even after the burial of my wife, let me fight with our soldiers. Until now I still cannot accept what happened,” he said.

Ma Luz is survived by their three young children: Dave Yukixis, 6; Athea, 4 and Zxania, 2.

Mr. Arellano said on the night of the blast, he was surprised to see their eldest, Yuki at home. He said his wife used to bring with her their son to work during weekends.

Yuki told him that his mother just promised to bring him delicious food.

At 11:00 pm, someone asked him if Ma. Luz has arrived from work because there was an explosion in the massage area, along Roxas Avenue.

“Grabe ang kakulba nako. Sa atbang namo naay motor, gihangyo na lang nako gisuroy nako tanang hospital diri sa Davao. Gitan-aw nako ang mga bulletin boards kung naa ba sya, wala man jud sya sa Davao Doctors, sa San Pedro, sa DMC (I was so scared. I borrowed a motorcycle from a neighbor and made rounds to hospitals. I checked the bulletin boards if she was listed, but I found nothing at the Davao Doctors Hospital, San Pedro Hospital, and Southern Philippines Medical Center (formerly Davao Medical Center)),” he said.

He also said he went to the blast site, but the investigators would not let them in yet.

“I returned to our house thinking maybe she went home,” he said.

At around 5:00 am Mr. Arellano went to the police station to check if his wife was among the casualties. But the police cannot give him an update at that time.

After half an hour he was informed by his wife’s co-workers that there was a “Ms. X” who is not yet identified at the SPMC.

He rushed to the hospital morgue and identified Ma. Luz only by their wedding ring, her small pouch, and her hair scrunchie.

She was “beyond recognition” he said. Ma. Luz’ face was burnt, her limbs and her back dismembered. “I hugged her body, it was her,” he said.

‘Mama is just sleeping’

Aiza Arellano, Edmon’s sister, said Yuki believes that his mother is just “sleeping”.

“He thinks he is just sleeping for a long time. He believes she will come back to them,” she said.

She said they only wish that the culprits will be apprehended to give justice to the family.

Ma. Luz is from Barangay Maputi in Banay-banay, Davao Oriental province. At around 1:00 pm Tuesday, her remains were taken to her hometown.

Mr. Arellano said they will hold a funeral wake for her for nine days.

“Ang iyahang lubong ug ang iyahang birthday magkasabay, (Her birthday and her burial will coincide),” he said.

He said that after the burial, he will focus on their children first.

Possible motives

The Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald Dela Rosa said the blast could be a diversionary tactic to the government military operations against the ASG in Sulu. He said it could also be part of narco-terrorism.

On Tuesday, Police Regional Office XI director Police Chief Superintendent Manuel Gaerlan said a terrorist group might be behind the bombing after police investigations found that the improvised explosive device used was made of two mortar shells.

“It’s a 60-mm and 81-mm bomb put together into one that’s why it was that powerful,” Gaerlan told reporters. The deadly blast killed at least 14 persons, and injured 70 others.

President Rodrigo Duterte declared a state of lawless violence hours after the blast.

On Monday, September 6, before his flight to Vientiane, Laos to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nation Leaders Meeting, Duterte signed Proclamation No. 55, otherwise known as “Declaring a State of National Emergency on Account of Lawless Violence in Mindanao”. (davaotoday.com)

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