by Larry Fabian
Baguio City – Private First Class Gener Tinangag never said anything about the hardship of his work as one of the Marines who risked his life in war-torn Marawi City at the height of the fighting between the government troops and the Maute Group last week.
“It’s okay now. At least my younger sister finished college” were the last words of the young Marine, according to his comrades, who then relayed them to his eldest sister Novelyn.
Novelyn described her brother as a sturdy young man, well focused in his responsibilities to his family, but he would not be dissuaded from his wanting to join the Marines.
“It’s a job and I am going to take it. Don’t worry. If it’s God’s will for me to die as a Marine, so be it. Everybody has to face death in their lifetime,” Pfc Tinangag told Novelyn and their mother when he learned that he was going to be stationed in Cotabato after his finishing his Marine basic training in Taguig.
His mother Marcia said she pleaded with him to finish his studies as a fourth year criminology student at the University of Baguio. She said her son only needed to finish one semester, a few months of on-the-job training (OJT), and then he would graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Criminology degree. But when he passed the exam at the Marine recruitment unit, he focused on joining the corps.
“He was so eager to work and help his siblings to finish their education, and he was also about to become a father to his now two-year-old son,” Marcia recalled.
“‘Ma, I do not like hunting for a job later after graduation,’ was his answer to me,” said his mother.
“I never thought he would be gone so soon, but now it is real,” she said. She added that she and her husband are still devastated over the death of their only son.
His father, Aram Tinangag, went ahead to their hometown in Kadaclan, Barlig, Mountain Province, to arrange for the burial site for their son, Marcia said. Pfc. Tinangag, 24, left his wife Jasmin Joy and two-year-old son Clark Mayner.
His comrades lauded him for his bravery in saving several wounded fellow Marines in the battlefield before he was shot by a sniper bullet during the Marine operation in Marawi. He was among the 13 Marines who lost their lives that day.
Sister Novelyn said his death pains their family so much. He was the only male in a brood of five “He was the third child. I never had any problems with him. He was always obedient, and focused on helping his family,” she added.
“We shared financial responsibilities in our younger siblings’ education; that is why maybe his last words were about our sister Jet, who recently graduated from college with a BS in Political Science,” Novelyn said.
Novelyn added that before the Marawi incident, Pfc. Tinangag was eager to have his few days vacation to see his family and son, whom he missed so much.
“I do not know how little Mayner can handle this,” Novelyn said. “Before we learned of his death, his son was heard saying, ‘Papa Boom,’”
“His comrades who rescued him said that he was still breathing when they carried him to the ambulance, after which he said to his comrades his last words before expiring at the hospital,” Novelyn. Said.