VIRAL: Filipino bayanihan spirit unfolds in baggage queue
MANILA, Philippines – Filipinos are not oblivious to the heavy burden soldiers bear, considering the ongoing clashes in Mindanao. Some Filipino civilians did not think twice about helping the troops lighten their load, so to speak.
A viral post detailed how soldiers who were about to be deployed in Marawi and Cotabato andhad problems meeting the maximum baggage weight, sparked the Filipino bayanihan spirit among civilian passengers in the queue. (READ: Stories of kindness, perseverance inspire Filipinos)
Rakel Pidor Ross, the Facebook user who posted the story on AirAsia’s page yesterday, shared that the soldiers remained humble and followed the protocol without complaints.
Despite this, they could still not meet the weight requirement due to the heavy combat uniforms and other gears in their baggage.
Ross together with another lady, then, offered their spare baggage weight to the soldiers in order to accommodate their things.
“Other passengers cheered the soldiers...and joked [around] to help them lessen their anxiety, and the ground desk staff allowed us to carry the things of the soldiers. So, everyone did their part,” said Ross in an interview with Rappler.
Ross added that the soldiers were even apologetic about the whole incident.
“Sabi ko sa mga sundalo, not to worry. I promise that AirAsia management will know about the incident and ensure them that may maririnig kaming feedback from them,” she said.
She stayed true to her word.
Responding to the viral post, the CEO of AirAsia, Captain Dexter Comendador, recently released a statement regarding the situation.
“The incident has inspired many including us and we would like to announce that AirAsia will extend free baggage allowance of up to 40kgs (kilograms) including in-flight meals and snacks to all AFP personnel,” the statement said.
As of posting, the viral photo has already garnered around 40,000 reactions, 6,000 shares and 1,200 comments.
Some users expressed their dismay over the airline, saying that they and soldiers in general should be exempted of baggage rules.
However, some reminded that the employees were only doing their job, and were right in following baggage rules which only aim to ensure the safety of passengers.
The clash between government troops and the combined forces of the Maute group and the Abu Sayyaf will be entering its second month come Sunday, July 23 23.
Meanwhile, a firefight erupted between the Presidential Security Group (PSG) and suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in North Cotabato on July 19, Wednesday.
With the Marawi clash showing no signs of slowing down, President Duterte asked Congress on July 18 for an extension of Martial Law in Mindanao. – Rappler.com
Alexa Yadao is a Rappler Intern