The military on Thursday lauded the soldiers who died while evacuating residents in typhoon-hit areas of Compostela Valley and vowed to provide assistance to the families they left behind. “The AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) salutes our soldiers who died while performing their duties as typhoon ‘Pablo’ hit Mindanao,” AFP spokesman Col. Arnulfo Burgos Jr. said. “Our prayers and sympathy goes to all the families of the victims and our highest admiration to all rescue workers and volunteers, soldiers and civilians alike in their dedication and commitment in helping our people,” he added.
Members of the Charlie Company of the Army’s 66th Infantry Battalion were about to implement a forced evacuation of civilians in New Bataan town when they were swept by floods and landslide. As of Thursday afternoon, five soldiers were confirmed dead while six others remain missing. A total of 17 soldiers sustained injuries during the onslaught of the typhoon. Burgos said the families of the soldiers who died in the line of duty would receive financial assistance from the AFP. Among the benefits that may be given to the families of the late soldiers are posthumous separation benefits, unused leave credits, educational benefits, cash assistance from the Alay Kawal Foundation, and pension.
Meanwhile, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) said it may suspend the conduct of military offensives due to the effects of the typhoon. “In light of the urgent humanitarian considerations, the NPA (New People’s Army) can suspend offensive military operations against the AFP for a period of time,” CPP said in a statement. “The responsible organs of the Communist Party, the NPA and the National Democratic Front (NDF) will issue more authoritative and detailed orders on this matter,” it added. The CPP also urged its forces to provide assistance to the calamity victims.
Meanwhile, the Navy has sent a ship to Davao Oriental to provide relief to affected residents. Navy spokesman Col. Omar Tonsay said BRP Miguel Malvar had been directed to bring relief supplies to barangay Labahon in Baganga, Davao Oriental. The ship is expected to arrive in Davao Oriental at about 5 a.m. Friday. Among the items loaded in the ship were clothes, food and water from the local governments, civil society groups and private donors.