MANILA – The University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) and the Philippine Football Federation (PFF) have expressed their condolences to the family of Far Eastern University (FEU) footballer Kieth Absalon who was killed by a mine blast believed to have been planted by the New People’s Army (NPA) in Masbate City.
Absalon, who plays midfielder for the Tamaraws, was killed on Sunday after an anti-personnel land mine (APM) exploded while he and cousin Nolven, along with the latter’s son, were biking in Barangay Anas, Masbate City.
“The University Athletic Association of the Philippines extends its condolences to the family of Far Eastern University football player Kieth Absalon,” the UAAP said in a statement on Sunday night.
Absalon was named the Most Valuable Player during the 2016 juniors football event after leading FEU-FERN to the title.
He even scored a goal during the team’s 6-1 mauling of Ateneo in the final.
His stellar high school career led him to a spot in the Azkals’ under-19 squad that played in the 2018 AFF U-19 Championships.
“It is heartbreaking to see a promising player’s future in Kieth Absalon cut short due to a terrible incident,” PFF president Nonong Araneta said in a separate statement.
“As one of the national youth team players privileged to have represented the country, it pains us to see Kieth miss out on what could have been an even brighter future ahead of him,” added Secretary General Ed Gastanes.
“Kieth brought pride and honor to the UAAP and FEU by representing the country in international tournaments,” the UAAP added.
As a college freshman, Absalon was quickly inserted into FEU’s seniors lineup for UAAP Season 82, but his rookie campaign was cut short when the league was cancelled last year due to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.
“He had a bright future ahead of him in the sport that he loved,” the league said.
Football runs in the blood of the Absalons as Kieth’s sister Nathalie is part of the University of Santo Tomas’ women’s team and younger brother Karl is continuing his legacy at FEU-FERN.
“The UAAP family’s heart goes out to the Absalon family including Kieth’s sister Nathalie of the University of Santo Tomas women’s team and younger brother Karl who is part of FEU’s high school football program,” the UAAP added.
The use of anti-personnel mines is a violation of the International Humanitarian Law and the 1997 Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention adopted by the international community, prohibiting the acquisition, production, stockpiling, and use of the weapons.
The Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, United Kingdom, European Union, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the Philippines. (PNA)