Fallen soldiers' families to receive assistance (Philippines)
The families of the nine soldiers of the Philippine Army's 47th Infantry Battalion, who were killed in the land mine explosion in Barangay Datagan, Calinog, Iloilo will be given the benefits due them, Major Lyndon Sollesta, PA 3ID spokesman said.
'Nakakalungkot', Maj. Sollesta said, 'dahil we lost nine fine soldiers, and their children lost their fathers this Christmas season. They were killed in an ambush, when the Elf truck they were riding in accidentally run through the land mine reportedly planted by the communist insurgents'.
Sollesta said aside from the commuted benefits and pensions, the dead soldiers' families will also avail of the educational programs for their direct dependents.
He likewise mentioned financial assistance from the Alay Sa Kawal Foundation, and the HERO or Help Educate and Raise Orphans Foundation.
Meanwhile, Sollesta allayed the fears of the residents of Barangays Datagan and Mambiranan saying that the 'public should not worry, walang militarization'.
'Rest assured that our troops are professionals and they are only after the rebels,' Sollesta said as he appealed to the barangay folks to help the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
'Loss of lives could have been averted had the residents informed the proper authorities. One good example was the cooperation done by the residents and local officials of one barangay in Igbaras, Iloilo some few months ago, where a land mine reportedly planted also by the rebels was recovered. With that gesture of the barangay folks we have prevented the loss of lives,' Sollesta said.
He said that they have learned a lesson from the recent tragedy and that the troops were strongly advised to be extra vigilant.
Von: 25 NOVEMBER 2005, http://www.thenewstoday.info (T.Villavert/PIA)