Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Leyte town confers recognition to Korean army official

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 16): Leyte town confers recognition to Korean army official

The local government of Tanauan, Leyte recognized Col. Lee Chul Won, commander of the South Korean Military Joint Support Group – Araw Force as “honorary son of the municipality of Tanauan.”

Mayor Pelagio Tecson, Jr. and members of the town council conferred the honor during the recent “Pasasalamat,” a program hosted by the provincial government to show gratitude to the foreign military humanitarian group who stayed in Leyte for a year to help in rebuilding damaged government facilities.

The commander of Araw Force was surprised with the distinction given and thanked the local government of Tanauan for such recognition.

In his message, Col. Lee described his stay in Leyte like a “first kiss” which is “sweet, lovely and memorable.”

He first arrived in Leyte few weeks after typhoon Yolanda to check areas affected by the super typhoon in this province. Seeing the suffering of survivors pushed them to immediately start the rehabilitation works.

They will never forget their experience in Leyte, said Col. Lee and promised that members of contingents will regularly visit Leyte. The story of their stay in the province will be pass-on to their children and grand children.

Col. Lee is also expected to receive a commendation from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Wednesday at Fort Bonifacio during the AFP Day celebration.

Local chief executives in the towns of Palo, Tanauan and Tolosa and the provincial government of Leyte expressed their appreciation to the contribution of Korean armed forces in rebuilding Leyte.

“There is not enough words to say how much we appreciate you for being with us, for being part of our life for one year, you have been part of us,” said Mayor Remedios Petilla of Palo town.

“I know you miss your family, parents and friends... there is nothing like when going home again and be with your family and old friends. Thank you for being with us. We value your presence and we thank of you for coming and helping us in times of our need,” she added.

The presence of Araw Contigents lifted up the spirit and heart of people of Leyte after super typhoon Yolanda, said Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla.

The governor assured the contingent that they are always welcome to visit Leyte.

Araw Force arrived in the country December 2013 and started their work through clearing operation in areas severely devastated by super typhoon Yolanda.

Their projects include rehabilitation of damaged local government unit facilities and public school buildings. Their stories are compiled in two books written by Col. Lee.

The foreign troops have repaired more than 60 public structures in their one year stay in Leyte.

The troops also fixed damage houses of Filipino war veterans that helped them during Korean War.

Araw Force also opens the Araw Heavy Equipment Operation Vocational Training Center in Palo, Araw Agriculture Training Center in Tanauan and Korean Language Class in the town of Palo.

The foreign troops also constructed Araw Memorial Park, which depicts the works that they did in the province since they arrive and a statue that symbolizes Filipino bravery during Korean War which is slated to be inaugurated today.

The Korean armies also built a scholar house for poor families in Leyte. The Korean international humanitarian organization Food for the Hungry will run the facility.


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