Army soldier burned in Fort Bonifacio blast dies
MANILA, Philippines—An army soldier who sustained major burns after a fire at the Army Explosives and Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Battalion headquarters set off a series of explosions succumbed to his injuries Friday morning, the military said.
Army Corporal Bernabe Mota, 30, died at around 10 a.m. at the Armed Forces of the Philippines Medical Center (AFPMC), said Army spokesperson Lt. Col. Noel Detoyato. Mota sustained burns in 80 percent of his body.
Mota, a native of Pili, Camarines Sur, was assigned at the EOD Battalion of the Army Support Command (ASCOM). He left behind a wife and a seven-year-old daughter.
To be transferred
According to Detoyato, Mota along with 1st Lt. Dinar Alosada and another soldier were scheduled to be transferred yesterday morning to the burn unit of the East Avenue Medical Center.
At press time, Detoyato said he had not received information if the transfer of Alosada and the other soldier pushed through.
President Aquino, as commander-in-chief, instructed the military leadership to help all the blast victims “at all cost,” a statement from the Defense Department said.
Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Army Chief Lt. Gen. Hernando Iriberri, and Health Secretary Enrique Ona visited the soldiers confined at the AFPMC on Thursday.
Iriberri also visited other blast victims at the Army General Hospital before proceeding to the ASCOM to inspect the site.
Records of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) showed that Alosada and MSgt. Ferdinand Rafal suffered as much as 80 percent burns in their bodies.
Mota and another soldier, Sgt. Rommel Septino, were reported to the BFP as having sustained second-degree burns.
The four Army personnel were among the 25 soldiers and firemen who were injured from the huge explosion that ripped through the EOD Battalion headquarters as fire razed the building.
The impact of the explosion was so strong that debris from the building smashed the windshield of a fire truck and deformed the vehicle’s right side. Debris also rained on a football field some 200 meters away from the blast site.
Detoyato said the military would shoulder all the expenses incurred from Mota’s confinement, as well as his wake and burial.
Detoyato said Iriberri had already formed a Board of Inquiry (BOI) to study the results of the administrative investigation being conducted by the ASCOM Inspector General.
Iriberri appointed Brig. Gen. Cesar Sedillo as head of the BOI.
Detoyato said the arson and post blast investigation results would also be submitted to the BOI.
“The results of all these investigations would help the BOI determine if there are accountabilities to the incident,” Detoyato told the Inquirer by phone.
Detoyato also said that plans had been underway to transfer the Army EOD Battalion headquarters to Camp Aquino in Tarlac as the land it is occupying is already owned by the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).
The military, however, was still waiting for the BCDA to complete the replication of the battalion headquarters building as part of the transfer agreement, he explained.
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