MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo, through her office's partners, is working to give wounded soldiers slots to take a prosthetics-making course at the University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center (UERM).
Robredo spoke to wounded soldiers at the V Luna General Hospital on Thursday, November 30. The Vice President was invited as a guest to the hospital's "Straight from the Heart" program, where musicians performed for the wounded soldiers.
Most of the injured had been deployed to Marawi City, where government forces clashed with homegrown terrorists from the Maute Group and a faction of the Abu Sayyaf Group in a months-long battle. (WATCH: Marawi: 153 days of war)
Robredo said UERM and Physicians for Peace – partners of her flagship anti-poverty program Angat Buhay – have been in talks with the V Luna General Hospital to give interested soldiers a chance to take the prosthetics-making course.
"'Yung kabutihan po nito, 'pag merong in-house na marunong nang gumawa, ang laking tulong para sa mga sundalo. Hindi lang po siguro malaking tulong para sa mga sundalo dahil meron na kayong sarili, pero panghanapbuhay din siya para sa mga sundalong hindi na makakabalik sa serbisyo," said Robredo.
(The good thing about this is that having in-house people who know how to make prosthetics will be a big help for soldiers. But apart from that, it will also be a livelihood opportunity for soldiers who will not be able to return to service.)
"Marami po tayong kababayan na nangangailangan nito. Pero konting-konti lang sa atin 'yung marunong gumawa," she added.
(We have many countrymen in need of prosthetics. But only a few know how to make them.)
The Angat Buhay program is also providing prosthetic legs and arms to amputee soldiers, whom Robredo visited in their hospital wards on Thursday.
The Vice President said she already informed Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Armed Forces of the Philippines chief General Rey Leonardo Guerrero about her office's plan for the wounded soldiers. Both approve of her plan.
Robredo was invited by the Department of National Defense during the program at the Pambansang Bantayog ni Andres Bonifacio for the Filipino hero's 154th birth anniversary earlier that day.
The Vice President also thanked the wounded soldiers for their service.
"Dahil palagay ko po, tayong lahat na mga Pilipino, bawat pagkakataon na 'binibigay sa atin para makapagpasalamat sa ating mga sundalo na siya namang mga bayani natin, kailangan po talagang bigyan natin ng oras dahil malaking karangalan po na makapagpasalamat po sa kanila nang personal," said Robredo.
(I think all Filipinos should seize the opportunity to thank the soldiers who are heroes. We need to set aside time for them because it is an honor to be able to thank them personally.)