CEBU Pacific Air (CEB) has airlifted the first batch of Army troopers recovering from their wounds inflicted during the Marawi siege to their respective units in various provinces before returning to full combat duty status, an official said.
CEB Communications Director Charo Logarta said at least eleven wounded soldiers of the Philippine Army took its first CEB flight from Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) for free to various provinces that included Cagayan de Oro, Tacloban, Pagadian, and Cotabato.
Logarta said there were four separate flights offered by Cebu Pacific to recovering soldiers.
The servicemen have been released from confinement at the Army General Hospital in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig, and would be going back soon for debriefing session, according to Lt. Col. Ray Tiongco.
Tiongco said that the Army command was thankful for “this kind of gesture of support for our soldiers who are now returning to their respective units for combat. It is meaningful gesture to make your soldiers feel that their sacrifices are being recognized and appreciated.”
He added that other recovering government troops who were fit enough for commercial flights may be accommodated on Cebu Pacific flights from Cagayan de Oro (Laguindingan Airport) or Manila, and flown to any of the 37 domestic destinations of CEB.
On top of the free flights, the wounded-in-action soldiers were provided with 40 kilograms of baggage allowance each.
The airline has also been granting free 40-kilogram baggage allowance to all soldiers and troops of the Philippine National Police (PNP) being deployed to Mindanao, or flying within Mindanao, provided they could show valid Mission Orders and Armed Forces of the Philippines or PNP Identification Cards.
Aside from airlifting the government troops free of charge, CEB is also airlifting cargo of relief goods and other humanitarian assistance for affected Marawi residents.
Logarta said “CEB will continue to provide free cargo for relief goods (such as food and water, medicines, bandages, clothing and other necessities) and other essential items for displaced residents of Marawi City and adjacent areas from various organizations, most notably the Department of Social Welfare and Development.”
The airline has also provided equipment support to the Office of Civil Defense in the transport of humanitarian assistance. BENJIE L. VERGARA