Sunday, July 29, 2012

A soldier's 'Labor of Love'

 DREAM HOUSE.  Sgt Jose Marvin Talamante Sr, a skilled carpenter, personally constructed the house, assisted by some attendants. when  his son, Jay-R, provided additional funds to finish the construction of the upper level. It  remains unfinished but stands proud in a community in Lower Bicutan, Taguig City.(Photo by Pfc Cesar Lopez)

TAGUIG CITY---Serving in the military sometimes require sweat, blood and tears, especially if one is assigned in the frontlines as a foot soldier.

Military personnel receive meager salary  for their highly dangerous missions and building a home from this remuneration makes it a true 'labor of love'.
Pfc Jose Marvin Talamante Jr., 23, availed of a P150,000.00 loan in order to  finance the  construction of the unfinished portion of their house in Lower Bicutan village here.

Known to be a very generous person, Jay-R  (his son's nickname), volunteered to augment an amount so that all of his siblings can enjoy the comfort of their own private rooms.

He also granted the wish of his father, Jose Sr., 62, a retired  Air Force non-commissioned officer.  The latter wanted to have one room each for his 5 children, including his other son who has just married.

Jay-R  became one of the countless soldiers who  are helping their parents erect decent homes for the family.

However, the house was not fully completed when they became short of funds a few days ago.

Jose Sr. has decided to wait for  for the next vacation of his son, a member of the 11th Scout Ranger Company based in Tipo-tipo, Basilan.

"I really wanted to finish the family project but we have no more funds. My small pension as a soldier is not sufficient to finance the procurement of more construction materials," he said.

Hearing the bad news

He was busy doing some carpentry works when the heavy fighting in Basilan grabbed the headlines. He became nervous knowing that his son was off to a certain mission a few days before that fateful day.

His wife, Constancia, 63, a retired school teacher, last heard of his son the night before his death .

"He asked for a cellphone load but I did not notice his text message. The next morning, there were several text messages from him but they were all 'blank' messages. I realized later that he was probably dead by that time," she said.

They first learned about Jay-R's death when a soldier from the First Scout Ranger Regiment texted them about the tragic incident on Thursday afternoon, July 26.

When a black-clad Scout Ranger came to them personally, they both didn't want to listen what the soldier had to say.

"Pfc Talamante Jr. died a hero with 9 other soldiers during a gunbattle with bandits this morning. We all have high praises for his heroic feats. We would like to express our heartfelt regrets for this tragic loss," the soldier said.

Hearing that, it seemed that their whole house collapsed and torn into pieces. Sadness  immediately overwhelmed the whole family.

Painful reunion

Watching as the C130 cargo plane halted about 50 meters from their position in the waiting area inside Villamor Air Base, Jose Sr and his wife could no longer hold back their tears.

They were among the relatives who came to fetch the remains of their loved ones who died as heroes in the jungles of Basilan.

"This is a painful reunion with my son who is planning to spend a vacation during his 24th birthday in October. How I wish that he could see the almost-finished construction works in our house," she said, tears welling in her eyes.

"The house may be unfinished but I am sure that he would have decided to 'see' it . That is why I wanted to have his wake at our house prior to his burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani," said Jose Sr.

PAINFUL REUNION. Five fallen soldiers who perished in Basilan are reunited with their family members upon their arrival at Villamor Air Base where they were given military honors at around 2:30am today. The other five soldiers were transported to their homes in Sarangani, Samar and Negros Oriental last night, where they were also accorded full military honors by the Army units stationed in the area. (Photo by Pfc Cesar Lopez)
Sgt Jose Marvin Talamante Sr. shares his thoughts about his son, Jay-R, who died in the fierce battle against bandits in Sumisip, Basilan 3 days ago. (Photo by Pfc Cesar Lopez)

Die-hard Scout Ranger

Jose Sr., said that he did not influence his son's decision to serve in the military. He wanted him to finish college and get some job.

For some reasons, Jay-R dropped from college after a year as a nursing student. Since then, he consistently asked permission to serve in the Army.

As a former soldier, he did not prevent his son from treading the same path in the military service.

"I told him that I am also proud that someone is following my footsteps and show the same passion I had  while rendering  my services to the people. After all, I had no bad records in the military," he proudly declared.

Constancia was witness to the perseverance of Jay-R in joining the military, particularly the Scout Rangers. She said her son had already failed to pass the rigid requirements twice in the past.

"He was heavily influenced by his friends who brought home war stories regarding their adventures in Mindanao. This made him much more motivated to try again, passing the strict requirements in his third attempt," she said.

"He was so proud when he finally became a soldier, serving in the trouble spots of Basilan island. He would text me often to say 'hello', making me feel relieved of my worries from time to time," she added.

Constancia said that she was sometimes worried about her son but she tried not to entertain the thought of any untoward incident like she did when her husband was still in the active service.

"I am aware of the hardships experienced by the soldiers in the field. He was proud and happy with his military service and I am very proud that he is now considered  a hero," she concluded.


  1. sharing the same feeling when we lost our cousin during the aug 12, 2009 bloodiest battle between marines and ASG in Tipo Tipo, Basilan ...sad but proud! may their soul rest in peace...

  2. I am aware of that.

    Let us all honor our fallen heroes and pray that this armed conflict will finally come to an end.

    The use of violence is not the answer to our community problems. Dapat maintindihan ito ng mga kapatid nating Muslim sa Basilan.

  3. Condolence sa mga naiwan nilang mga pamilya