How to say Merry Christmas to wounded soldiers
MANILA, Philippines – It's a small gesture but it meant a lot to the wounded soldiers: knowing that their sacrifices are noticed and appreciated.
Lieutenant Colonel Harold Cabunoc brought 5 wounded soldiers to Trinoma mall in Quezon City for an eat-all-you-can lunch on Christmas Day, December 25, thanks to money donations from civilian supporters from the Philippines, Japan, and the US.
They later proceeded to watch the comedy movie Girl, Boy, Bakla, Tomboy of Vice Ganda. They want to laugh, said Cabunoc.
The 5 are among about 50 soldiers staying at the Heroes Ward in the AFP Medical Center. The others could not leave the hospital because of their wounds but they will be given gift packs.
Cabunoc said it was a Christmas gift that was discussed on Facebook. "It started as a suggestion in Facebook. After watching the heroism of soldiers in Zamboanga City and Typhoon Yolanda, they sent money to treat the soldiers," said Cabunoc, head of the 7th Civil Military Operations Group.
People sometimes forget that soldiers also get wounded in armed conflict, he added.
"I am very glad that there are civilians who have thought about supporting their soldiers. From the bottom of my heart, I'd like to thank them for uplifting our morale today," said Corporal Jose Jelly Vidal Bardon, a sniper of the 3rd Light Reaction Company (LRC) who was wounded in the Zamboanga City Crisis in September.
The other soldiers are PO3 Arthuro Nool Balaus, Staff Sergeant Weny Armenta Palalimpa, Private First Class Edgardo Abao Jose, and Private First Class Eugene Lustica Contaoi.
It's just one of the activities launched by the 7th Civil Military Operations Group after it collected about US$5,000 for the soldiers. The money was used to buy fishing boats for 3 lucky families in Leyte and $3,000 worth of relief goods, among others.
Boxes of canned goods and condiments like soy sauce and vinegar were sent to soldiers deployed to watch disputed territories in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), Cabunoc said.
In Nueva Ecija, 155 soldiers of the 7th Infantry Division were also awarded on December 23 their own houses under the "Kalinga sa Kawal Off-Base Housing Project."
“I want to congratulate the soldiers who were awarded these houses. I am glad that as we celebrate Christmas, 155 of our fellow soldiers and their families will have their own houses they call their own,” said Major General Romulo Cabantac Jr, vice commander of the Philippine Army and chairman of the Philippine Army Housing Board.
The houses were built in barangay Caballero, Palayan City. – Carmela Fonbuena/Rappler.com