Camp Aquino, Tarlac City – On September 12, 2023, military forces of the 17th Infantry Battalion under the Northern Luzon Command and other law enforcement agencies came together to ensure a dignified burial for an Indigenous person with ties to the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG). Brenda Antonio, known as Michelle, was granted the final respect she deserved after being abandoned by the CTG movement in the town of Rizal, Cagayan.
With the assistance of a former rebel who had left and been forsaken by the members of the terrorist group Komiteng Probinsya Cagayan, Komiteng Rehiyon Cagayan Valley, the military and police promptly took action, resulting in the discovery of the remains of Brenda Antonio, alias Michelle, a member of Agta tribe and a resident of Brgy Peru, Lasam, Cagayan, along with an M16 Rifle and ammunition that had been concealed with her remains.
According to the former rebel who has helped the government forces, the CTG abandoned the body of Michelle after she was killed by a falling tree during the height of a typhoon. Michelle had served as a member of the terrorist group for two years, but she was suddenly abandoned by those she considered her comrades. Furthermore, the terrorist group coerced Michelle into joining their ranks, promising her a better life.
The grieving relatives of Michelle sought help and hoped to at least see the remains of their deceased loved one.
In a statement from the Commander of NOLCOM, LIEUTENANT GENERAL FERNYL G. BUCA, PAF, expressed his abhorrence for the inhumane treatment of the CTG to Michelle, he said, “We strongly condemn the heartless act of the CPP-NPA in abandoning Michelle, a member of the Indigenous sector, after her tragic demise, reflecting their utter disregard for human life. This incident is a glaring example of their moral bankruptcy.”
Furthermore, COMNOLCOM commended the relentless dedication of our troops and law enforcement agencies, who, despite challenging conditions, ensured Michelle received the dignified burial she deserved.
LTGEN BUCA also encouraged the remaining members of the CTG to “abandon the terrorist movement, return to the folds of the law, and make use of the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program which will enable them to start anew in peace and comfort with their families,”
The remains of Michelle were properly handled and turned over to the appropriate authorities and will be forwarded to her family for a decent and proper burial.