Quezon monument pays tribute to soldiers
- James Mananghaya () - July 27, 2006 - 12:00am
REAL, Quezon — "Their names may no longer matter, their faces forgotten, but what they did would forever be enshrined in the hearts of a grateful people."

These words are engraved on the marble marker of a seven-foot monument in front of the Repador building in Barangay Tignoan here where 111 people were buried alive when landslides swept through this remote village on Nov. 29, 2004.

Amid the tragic event, hope shone brightly for 11 days when men of the Army’s 2nd Infantry Division furiously searched for survivors in the landslide-swept building.

Just as Army officials thought of using explosives to extricate the remains of those who perished in the tragedy, three-year-old Stella Marie Sor emerged alive from the rubble, thanks to the efforts of members of the Army’s 1st Infantry Battalion.

Stella Marie was immediately rushed to a waiting helicopter by two Army soldiers, Pfcs. Ferdinand Garcia and Charlie Delfino, who would later become the heroes depicted in the Soldiers of Mercy Monument, which Lt. Gen. Pedro Cabuay, chief of the Armed Forces Southern Luzon Command, thought of as a tribute to the government troops who selflessly help their fellowmen in times of need.

Real Mayor Arsenio Ramallosa said the monument would be a lasting reminder of the noble objectives of the Philippine Army, not only in fighting wars but also in reaching out to their fellowmen.

"Ang mga sundalong narito sa lugar na ito nang mangyari ang malagim na trahedya ay taos-puso naming pinasasalamatan. Para sa amin, sila ang aming mga bayani
(We are deeply in gratitude to the soldiers who were here during that grim tragedy. They are our heroes)," Ramallosa said.

Stella Marie lost her mother Cathy and her nine-month-old brother John Marvin when the Repador building collapsed.

Her father, Melvin, had just stepped out of the building when a deadly mix of mud and rocks swept through it.

In an interview with The STAR, Melvin could hardly hold back his emotions as he recalled seeing his daughter being carried by the two soldiers.

Col. Tristan Kison, public information officer of the Armed Forces, was the commander of the 1st IB when the tragedy struck. Garcia and Delfino were his men.

Kison said his troops were the first to respond to the tragedy since it had an outpost in a nearby village.

ARMED FORCES ARMED FORCES SOUTHERN LUZON COMMAND BARANGAY TIGNOAN FERDINAND GARCIA AND CHARLIE DELFINO GARCIA AND DELFINO INFANTRY BATTALION INFANTRY DIVISION JOHN MARVIN MELVIN PEDRO CABUAY STELLA MARIE
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