From InterAksyon (Dec 20): P2-M savings from 'simplified' AFP celebration to be donated to typhoon Pablo victims
MPs of the Armed Forces rehearse their anniversary parade at Camp Aguinaldo on Thursday. KRISKEN JONES, INTERAKSYON.COM
The "simplified" 77th anniversary celebration of the Armed Forces of the Philippines on Friday is expected to yield some P2 million in savings, which would later be used for relief and rehabilitation in areas ravaged by typhoon Pablo. The event will commemorate "the collective efforts of our soldiers, as well as our partners in civilian organizations and government agencies, in maintaining peace and development and in building a sustainable and secure environment for our country’s future," AFP Chief of Staff General Jessie Dellosa said. Earlier, the AFP cancelled its Christmas parties, saving P3 million for the typhoon victims in Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental.
Based on the latest date of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), the number of recovered fatalities was already less than 1,050 with more than 800 more missing. Some fatalities, including those who remained missing, were soldiers who first responded to save lives but they became victims themselves of flashfloods and landslides. “The AFP will not forget the heroism and sacrifices of our soldiers who protected and supported our people in its 77 years of existence. In fact, this anniversary celebration is also dedicated to the hard work and perseverance of our troops who are all-out in their disaster response and humanitarian efforts in Mindanao,” Dellosa said. Hundreds of soldiers are still working 24 hours conducting relief and retrieval operations in the typhoon-stricken areas.
This year's celebration will do without the Philippine Air Force’s (PAF) fly-by as well as the high-speed opener. The traditional AFP Ball and Dinner in honor of former Chiefs of Staff and other dignitaries was also shelved to save money for relief operations. "But the parade of motorized, mounted, and marching troops will proceed without the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response manpower and equipment that are currently deployed in Mindanao," Dellosa said. The celebration will feature a sky-diving exhibition, PAF Synchronized Arnis Exhibition, PAF Band Exhibition, and Philippine Marine Corps Band Exhibition in the pre-program activities. The program proper will highlight the presentation of Command and Honors by the Guest of Honor and Speaker President Benigno S. Aquino III.
The celebration will also launch "Kwentong Bayanihan," a collection of short stories written by members of the military and civilian sectors to illustrate the finest practices of Bayanihan to the President and AFP Commander in Chief, military spokesman Col. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr., said. Along with the book, the AFP will also present a DVD copy of twenty short films under “Kwentong Bayan,” produced and directed by the Filipino Pictures, Inc. Kuwentong Bayan is part of FilPix’s contribution to the AFP’s campaign in spreading the message of Bayanihan to win the peace. It is also envisioned to effectively show a different perspective on addressing the root causes of insurgency and social issues in the country," Burogs said.
The awarding will be followed by the Inspection of Troops, Pass-in-Review, and the Motorized Contingent featuring some of AFP’s newly acquired and refurbished equipment. The motorized contingent will be composed of the Special Operations Command mounted on three KM450 vehicles; 710th Special Operations Wing on one Humvee Combat Vehicle, two KM450 trucks, and one Explosive, Ordnance and Disposal Van. They will be followed by the armored assets of the Philippine Army including two V150 Commando and three Simba Fighting Vehicles; Armored Assets of the Philippine Marine Corps including one Humvee Combat Vehicle; two V300 and one V150 combat vehicles; Army artillery assets including six Tubes Howitzers; newly-acquired field ambulance units; and four new tonner trucks.