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Philippine Armed Forces holds mass for typhoon victims

The Armed Forces of the Philippines held a mass at San Isidro, Tacloban, Leyte, where over 100 bodies would be buried, on Sunday morning.

It was the first time that the military has decided to hold the service there which was attended by about 40 soldiers and members of the public.

At the end of the one-hour service, Captain Elmer Basas, a priest, who conducted the service, walked around the dead bodies and blessed them with holy water.

Last Friday, three task force recovery teams recovered another 70 bodies, bringing the numbers of bodies recovered in Tacloban to a total of 1,700, Colonel Emmanuel Cacdac told The Straits Times.

The Colonel said he does not think the bodies would be claimed as they were beyond identification. Also no immediate families could come forward to claim them as they would either too be killed or they were still lying in hospital, he told The Straits Times.

"I know people will question why the bodies are still lying there. I think its because the pathologists want to secure some identification system before they are buried, like DNA. There are still families looking for their missing family members. That will allow them to get some closure," said Col Cacdac.

joycel@sph.com.sg