MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino yesterday called on the new officers and members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to take a more active role in disaster and humanitarian missions in times of calamities.
He said AFP officers and personnel play an active role as first responders during calamities and natural disasters and should also help in rehabilitation efforts such as the repair of damaged houses.
“I’m hoping that you will not lose faith and hope, whether you are an Army man, Navy or Air Force. And I’m confident that you will live your lives according to your sworn duty,” he said at the Joint Graduation of the Major Services Pre-Entry Officer Courses in Camp Aguinaldo.
He also paid tribute to the soldiers who were at the forefront of rescue and relief efforts in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Yolanda.
The President said new AFP officers and members should always prove to be deserving and worthy of the military service.
“The people have put their faith in your honesty and integrity, so you should never fail them,” he said. “You should always side with the people, serve them with dignity, principles and accountability.”
He said soldiers should also take a more “organized and active role” in territorial defense.
Meanwhile, the Department of Education (DepEd) is coordinating with the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) for the quick release of the salary and bonuses of public school teachers in Yolanda-ravaged areas.
Education Secretary Armin Luistro said all teaching and non-teaching personnel of the agency can withdraw from any DBP branch once the salaries are released.
He said DepEd personnel can also claim their remaining bonus and cash gift amounting to P5,000.
“Those who lost their ATM cards will be issued a new one at any DBP branch if they present their ID or any proof of identity,” he said.
Jollibee Foods Corp. (JFC) and Jollibee Group Foundation (JGF) continue with relief efforts for Yolanda victims through their JFC Food Aid.
With the support of its local brands – Jollibee, Greenwich, Chowking, Red Ribbon, Mang Inasal and Burger King – JFC products and relief packs are being distributed and mobile soup kitchens set up in affected areas.
JFC and JGF planned rehabilitation initiatives include rebuilding of classrooms, helping farmers’ livelihood and providing technical skills training and college scholarship for affected youth.
Trinity University of Asia president Josefina Sumaya has launched a campaign requiring all university personnel and student organizations to donate to Yolanda victims.
University administrators, faculty members and regular and special projects staff were asked to donate a percentage of their salary. It is also a must for all departments and school organizations to collect cash, food, water, clothes, medicine, hygiene packs and other useful items from the students.
The West Zone concessionaire Maynilad Water Services Inc. (Maynilad) sent four water tankers, including drivers and mechanics, to help in the delivery of clean water in Tacloban City last Friday.
Maynilad also sent a generator through the United Nations Children’s Fund to help the local water utility with its plant operations.
The company also set up water stations in Villamor Air Base for typhoon evacuees.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said the construction of bunkhouses for typhoon victims in Leyte and Samar has started.
Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson said construction is ongoing in Tacloban City and Palo in Leyte and in Basey and Marabut in Samar.
A bunkhouse will be composed of 24 units. Each unit can accommodate five families. It will also have a common toilet and wash area and kitchen.