The Philippine Army has raised P2 million for the earthquake victims in Negros Oriental, representing the one-day subsistence allowance of its 80,000-strong soldiers, its regional spokesman, Capt. Reylan Java, said.

Java said the amount was used for the purchase of P2 million worth of relief goods, which include mineral water, noodles and biscuits, among others, and were turned over to Gov. Roel Degamo and mayors of affected local government units in Negros Oriental.

Degamo lauded the effort of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, especially the Army, who supported Negros Oriental, not just during the earthquake, but during the tropical storm “ Sendong”, that hit the province in December last year.

A member of the army receives a monthly subsistence allowance of P2,700, and one day equivalent is P90.

Java said the P2 million forms part of the amount taken from the subsistence allowance of the 125,000-strong Armed Forces of the Philippines, deducted from them last year, also for donation to “Sendong” victims in Negros Oriental and Mindanao in December last year.

Col. Francisco Patrimonio, commanding officer of the 302nd Infantry Brigade, also acknowledged the support of the Philippine Navy, Air Force and Army engineers, who immediately responded after the magnitude 6.9 earthquake hit Negros Oriental last week.

          “It would be very hard for the ground troops to facilitate and hasten rescue, retrieval, and relief operations without the support of these units. It was indeed a rare display of the Filipino spirit of bayanihan that united us into one common goal of helping the people,” Patrimonio said.

 Patrimonio assured that the army troopers will continue the search and retrieval operations in the vicinity of the two different landslide incidents in Barangay Solonggon, La Libertad, and Barangay Planas in Guihulngan City.

 “Our combat operations in pursuing the armed rebels were temporarily cancelled and were shifted into disaster rescue, relief and retrieval operations when the earthquakes occurred”, he added.

Degamo, in a statement issued by the 3rd Infantry Division, appealed  to the people, especially to local politicians, to unite and work together to help the people and to fast-track the rehabilitation of affected communities.

About 300 Army soldiers were mobilized by the 3rd Infantry Division in the retrieval operations, especially in the landslide areas of La Libertad and Guihulngan City.

The turnover of relief goods were also witnessed by Col. Jonas Sumagaysay, deputy commander of the 3rd Infantry Division; Lt. Col. Ramil Bitong, commanding officer of 11th Infantry Battalion; Lt. Col. Rene Honasan, commander of the Air Force Tactical Operation Group 6; Mayor Nestor Reyes of Guihulngan City; Mayor Lawrence Limkaichong of La Libertad, and Director Minda Morante of the Office of Civil Defense.*GPB