NAGBUKEL, Ilocos Sur, July 7 (PIA) – Although she is still in deep sorrow for the loss of her son in a fight versus the Maute terror group, Censia Piscala shares her hope for peace in the war-torn Marawi City.
Censia, 62, a native of Barangay Bandril, Nagbukel, Ilocos Sur, is the grieving mother of Sergeant Benjie Piscala, 28, who died recently in the conflict zone.
“I am appealing to the members of the Maute terrorist group to surrender to the authorities to end the Marawi siege,” the weeping mother said.
“Please think of the woeful kin who are left by the casualties of the war,” she added.
Sgt. Piscala, a member of the 13th Scout Ranger Company of the army’s 1st Scout Ranger Regiment, was the second soldier from Ilocos Sur province who died in the continuing Marawi crisis.
He died on the spot when he was trying to move up to the third floor of the building he and his comrades were in charge of when he was caught by a bullet fired by a Maute sniper at about 3 p.m. on June 22, according to his cousin Private First Class John Garde.
Two days after his demise, his remains arrived at his mother’s house, here.
Censia described his son as a responsible and a devoted family man and shared that due to the hardship in life, Benjie had no choice but to enlist himself in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) after graduation from high school in 2009.
“He wanted to serve the country while aiming to bring a decent life for us and his siblings,” Censia said.
She added, “Benjie’s father died during his childhood days.”
After his graduation as a candidate soldier in Camp Tecson in San Miguel, Bulacan, Piscala joined the elite scout ranger unit of the Philippine Army. Afterwards, he was deployed in Mindanao where he was engaged in several encounters with Muslim terrorists and made him earn several military medals and “Kagitingan badge” for his gallantry in action.
To sharpen his skills as a soldier, Piscala also dreamt of undergoing a sniper training course of the AFP after his deployment in Marawi.
Censia admitted that even from the very start, she did not want his son to join the military but his determination gained her support.
“I am very proud that my son died as a hero for defending the country against the terrorists until the last second of his life,” she said.
Censia thanked President Rodrigo R. Duterte for his deepest sympathy to the kin of the fallen soldiers and police of the Marawi siege.
Meanwhile, Virgilio Baguang, village chairman of Barangay Bandril and the president of the Association of Barangay Chairman (ABC) in Nagbukel town, said that the people in his village are saddened about Piscala’s untimely death.
“The residents of Nagbukel town are very proud of the heroism of Sgt. Piscala and we will always render our snappy salute to our fallen hero,” Baguang said.
Piscala left his wife, Gelian and their two children Liana Kate, 3 and Benz Carl, 2.
He is set to be laid to rest in hometown’s public cemetery on July 10. (JNPD/FGL/ PIA- 1)