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Soldiers previously deployed to fight rebels now involved in relief and rehabilitation efforts
MANILA, Philippines – Soldiers assigned to Mindanao are ready for the long haul in helping victims of Tropical Storm “Sendong,” the Armed Forces of the Philippines said Friday, Dec. 23, 2011.
AFP Public Information Office head Lt. Col. Arnulfo Burgos said they expect the soldiers’ stay to take long for the rehabilitation and recovery stages.
“Tingin natin magtatagal pa ito, nasa recovery pa, dadaan sa rehabilitation at relief. Katulong din ang AFP sa rehabilitation (We think they are in for a long stay. The victims of Sendong are still recovering. There will be rehabilitation and relief efforts for the victims),” he said in an interview on dwIZ radio.
The Army troops based in the region just suffered a a few setbacks months ago after a spectacular raid by communist guerrillas on a mining site in Surigao and other rebel attacks. Northern Mindanao is one of the few remaining key areas of the communist New People’s Army.
Last weekend, floods brought by Sendong devastated parts of Mindanao and the Visayas. The storm left at least 1,080 dead and more than P1 billion in damage to property as of early Friday.
Burgos said up to 20,000 AFP personnel are “directly and indirectly” involved in the operations.
Also, he reiterated the soldiers are willing to forego spending Christmas with their families and staying at the affected areas instead.
“Yan lang ang pwede nilang gawin para makiramay sa ating mamamayan ang tulungan sila doon. Handa ang ating pamilya at sundalo di makapiling ngayong kapaskuhan (That is the most our soldiers can do to show solidarity with the victims. They and their families are ready to spend Christmas apart),” he said. – Rappler.com