A former managing editor of the Philippine Collegian, the student publication of the University of the Philippines, was one of the two rebels killed in an encounter between the 79th Infantry “Masaligan” Battalion soldiers and the New People’s Army fighters in Silay City, Negros Occidental, Friday, August 20, her father said Saturday, August 21.
Writer Pablo Tariman said the fatality was his daughter Kerima Lorena Tariman, 42.
“I am proud of my daughter. She was consistent all the way. I like the way she lived her life. In poetry and commitment. I was ready for this death years back. When it happened, it was not surprising. I am proud of her,” he told DIGICAST NEGROS.
“I was shown a photo of her in the encounter site. She was alive with just one bullet wound in her hands but the military finished her off,” Tariman said.
”When I asked for confirmation, a friend of Kerima in Silay described a photo taken at the encounter site. I asked her to describe how she looked and I’m certain she was my daughter. The person who described the photo also confirmed that is was her, “ he said.
“She was found during clearing operations near the encounter site and may have died due to loss of blood. Her shoulder had been hit by bullets and was nearly severed,” Maj. Cenon Pancito III, spokesperson of the Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, said.
Tariman said he is arriving in Negros Occidental early next week to identify the body that is now at a Silay City funeral parlor and to bring the remains of his daughter home.
“The endless bad governance and rampant corruption in government, widespread killings in the countryside” drove his daughter to join the rebel movement, Tariman said.
Tariman, who is married to Merlita Lorena Tariman, said Kerima was born on May 29, 1979, in Legaspi City.
He said his daughter took up Philippines Studies at UP Diliman where she met her husband Ericson Acosta.
She finished high school at the Philippine High School for the Arts (PHSA) where she graduated salutatorian in 1996. She was a PHSA scholar in creative writing, he said.
Tariman said his daughter published her first collection of poetry at age 16, and won poetry competitions at the University of the Philippines. Her poems appeared in Sunday Inquirer Magazine, Manila Chronicle and Diyaryo Filipino, among others.
A poetry fellow of the UP National Writers Worskhop. Her poems and stories appeared in anthologies published by UP Creative Writing Center, he added
His daughter joined the rebel movement in 2000. She was detained in Ilagan, Isabela, for a case of illegal possession firearms that was dismissed 2001.
“The first time I went to the countryside to integrate with farmers, government troopers tried to show me first-hand how fascism, counter-insurgency and psychological warfare work. As if to make sure I don’t forget, they gave me a minor grenade shrapnel wound, and a major, lingering fear of any man with a golden wristwatch who’d seem to loiter in public places to watch me,” Kerima wrote from IIigan in 2001, her father said.
Tariman said he learned that his daughter was in Negros two years ago,
He said she is survived by her husband Ericson Acosta ad their 18-year-old son.
A government soldier and two alleged New People’s Army rebels were killed in an encounter in Barangay Kapitan Ramon, Silay City, in Negros Occidental 6 a.m. Friday, August 20, Pancito said earlier.
Killed in the encounter was PFC Christopher Alada of Barangay Indorohan, Badiangan, Iloilo, who “died a hero protecting the people of Hacienda Raymunda,” the Army said.
The death of Kerima was confirmed by Apolinario Gatmaitan Command, New People’s Army Regional Operational Command in Negros Island (AGC-NPA), in a statement released on Saturday.
The other slain rebel was identified as “Pabling.”
Both the Army and the NPA hailed their fallen soldiers as “heroes.”
“The Red commanders and fighters in Negros are inspired by the sacrifice of our comrades, the new heroes of our time. It is a sacrifice that reminds us to steel our commitment to the revolutionary cause and fearlessly take on their unfinished tasks until revolutionary victory,” the AGC-NPA said.*