Koronadal honors 2 World War II heroes

KORONADAL CITY — The city government gave a heroes burial to two of the area’s pioneer settlers who were regarded as World War II heroes.

The remains of Engr. Albert Morrow and his aide Santiago Odi were exhumed from the Banga public cemetery and re-interned before noon Monday at a monument inside the old city hall compound here amid a 21-gun salute.

City Mayor Peter Miguel said the heroes burial for Morrow and Odi were in recognition of their patriotic and heroic acts at the height of the Japanese occupation in the area during World War II.

“This is to properly recognize and honor their sacrifices and selfless acts that helped save the lives of many people,” he said.

The solemn heroes burial was preceded by a funeral motorcade from Banga town and a march along the city’s main streets, with the remains placed on a silver carriage.

It was followed by a mass and blessing of the tomb situated at the base of a newly-built monument.

Personnel from the South Cotabato Police Provincial Office carried the remains while troops from the 27th Infantry Batallion led the customary 21-gun salute.

Citing historical accounts, the mayor said Morrow and Odi were part of the initial batch of settlers from Luzon who arrived in the area in 1939.

He said Morrow was then the deputy administrator of the National Land Settlement Administration (NLSA), which was headed by Gen. Paulino Santos.

When World War II came, he said Japanese forces stationed in the area staged a series of atrocities, jailing and killing innocent civilians.

In 1942, Miguel said the Japanese imprisoned a number of civilians, mostly settlers, on suspicions that they were aiding local anti-Japanese guerrilla units.

The head of the Japanese forces identified as Capt. Oishu reportedly invited Morrow, who was then the acting head of the NLSA, to join the interrogation of the prisoners, he said.(PNA)