SOLDIERS at the forefront of combat operations against the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Sulu are undergoing continuous combat stress debriefing to cope with psychological rigors of their duties, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said on Tuesday.
Col. Rodrigo Gregorio, spokesman for the AFP’s Joint Task Force Sulu, said three companies from different battalions have so far undergone the combat stress debriefing being conducted by medical teams coming from the AFP Medical Center.
According to the AFP, the combat stress debriefing is a mechanism to ensure the psychological health, morale and welfare of troops involved in highly dangerous combat operations.
Such type of stress was first observed on American troops during the Vietnam War by medical personnel and was found out to be a type of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD.
The debriefing, the AFP pointed out, aims to address possible cases of PTSD among troops, a sickness that is beyond superficial wounds common among soldiers, policemen and other law enforcers who have been to combat zones or some life- threatening situations.
Brig. Gen. Arnel dela Vega, JTF commander, explained that “combat stress debriefing is part of the program of the AFP to take care of the health and welfare of troops involved in combat. The AFP provides a continuing healthcare program to our soldiers from the moment officers and troops get commissioned or enlisted until they retire from the service.”