Monday, December 22, 2014

300-strong 'Araw' Contingent departs Monday

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 23): 300-strong 'Araw' Contingent departs Monday

The 300-strong South Korean military unit, fondly called the "Araw" Contingent, formally left Monday after 359 days of humanitarian missions in "Yolanda" battered areas in the Eastern Visayas.

The group departed from Brig. Gen. Benito N. Ebuen Air Base (formally Mactan Air Base), Cebu at 11: 40 a.m.

They boarded a chartered Korean Airline Boeing 747 back to South Korea.

A simple but very meaningful send-off ceremony was led by Major Gen. Eusaquito P. Manalo, 2nd Air Division commander and Ki-seog Lee, the Korean Consul General in Cebu.

It was highlighted with Philippine Air Force dependents and children giving flowers and bidding farewell to the South Korean soldiers as a symbol of gratitude.

“We Repaid Your Sacrifices of Blood with Our Sweat Drops," was the motto of the “Araw” Contingent from the Republic of Korea Armed Forces Joint Support Group which arrived in Tacloban City last Dec. 28.

The “Araw” Contingent was led by Col. Chul Won Lee and established their camp in Palo, Leyte.

Their mission was to conduct humanitarian activities in support to the relief and rehabilitation effort in the province of Leyte.

The “Araw” Contingent was able to conduct infrastructure rehabilitation, rescue of abandoned vehicles, distribution of water supplies, clearing of typhoon debris, region based medical and dental aid, region-based fumigation, feeding programs, movie showing, distribution of relief goods, donating of books and granting of scholarships.

The group also facilitated a vocational training center, established an Agricultural Leadership Institute, Korean language classes, and the construction of a memorial park.

Moreover, the Filipino war veterans during the Korean War were also given special treatment by rehabilitating their houses, giving of medical services, and granting of scholarships to their dependents.

These accomplishments were made in the municipalities of Tanauan and Palo, Leyte to include Tacloban City.

All-in-all, there were 37 Educational facilities rehabilitated, 25 Public facilities rehabilitated, and 40,000 patients treated for medical and dental services.

The commitment of the Republic of Korea to help the Filipinos who were victims of Typhoon “Glenda” was deeply rooted in the sacrifices of our Filipino soldiers from the Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea (PEFTOK) who fought and died alongside Korean soldiers during the Korean War in the 1950s.

Also, while in Leyte, the “Araw” Contingent exerted effort to locate Filipino Korean War Veterans to honor them.For all these, The Filipino nation, especially the people of Leyte will be forever grateful.

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