EVERY member of the 125,000-strong Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is donating one day of their meal allowance to the victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda.
“When the Bohol quake happened soldiers gave up one day of their mess allowance to be donated to the victims. Since this also a devastation the soldiers will voluntarily give up one day of their meal allowance to help,” Public Affairs Office chief Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala on Friday said.
Zagala said that even though they don’t compel anybody to donate, almost all contributed to the cause.
But at the moment, Zagala stressed, their focus is on humanitarian assistance and disaster response aspect of the ongoing effort in Taclaboan City, Samar, Leyte and other provinces hit by the typhoon.
“Our focus at the moment is really first is to bring the goods down there. As we finish our work in relief operations, definitely the initiative to donate part of our meal allowance will be considered. But we’ll do this as we wrap or finish the relief operations,” he added.
He further said that the AFP, the US forces and militaries of other countries military have already formed a joint task force in o as to speed the distribution and delivery of aids to the typhoon victims.
“We have to do a combined joint task force in order to integrate the help coming from other countries, so that other military assets, relief manpower can be integrated to our effort when we send them to the areas that need them,” he added.
He explained that that the joint task is really important in order to control all assets and have a unity in effort in the ongoing humanitarian assistance and disaster response.
According to Zagala, the arrival of foreign military was a big help to the local troops on the ground even as he stressed that it did no necessarily men that the AFP don’t have the capacity to do it.
“We have a command structure led by the chief of staff, the J3 and J4 both handling operations and logistics,” he said, adding that prior to the creation of a joint task force the AFP is already using what is in place.
William B. Depasupil