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8ID cancels Christmas parties of troops for relief operations in Leyte Island

CATBALOGAN CITY -- Major General Edgardo De Leon, 8th Infantry Division commander, implemented a directive of AFP leadership to cancel Christmas get-together to commiserate with public abstention from holiday revelry amid pandemic.

"Earlier, our higher headquarters directed us to abstain from holding of unit Christmas party due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As we now send our troops to help in relief operations to areas affected by Typhoon Odette, particularly in the provinces of Leyte and Southern Leyte, the food and other resources we originally set aside for Christmas party will instead be repurposed to support our troops on relief operations mission," said MGen. De Leon.

The AFP’s JTF Storm comprising of Army’s 8ID and 546th Engineer Construction Battalion, PAF’s Tactical Operations Group (TOG 8), PN’s Naval Tasg Group 2, has initiated a project to generate assistance to affected residents of Southern Leyte and Leyte dubbed as TF Bulig Southern Leyte and Leyte (TF Bulig) for a “whole of region” bayanihan.

The AFP units will provide manpower, sea, air, and land transportation to help in the collection, transport, and distribution of donations for SLL.

"We can provide personnel and transport assets, but we would like to solicit relief goods from volunteers such as 20-liter containers with potable water, food, cooking kits, hygiene kits, toiletries and first aid kits. I personally saw the situation of our constituents in Southern Leyte and Leyte. They are in need of immediate help and assistance," De Leon added.

Incidentally, 142 trainees were enlisted as new Privates in 8ID today after completing their Basic Military Training. The first task issued by MGen. De Leon to them is to join the relief operations, setting aside their traditional “training leave” due to the exigency of the service of rendering humanitarian assistance and disaster response to typhoon victims. Stormtroopers spokesman Cpt. Ryan Layug clarified that "Christmas and New Year shall still be celebrated by our soldiers, but it would be primarily with their family and love ones. Only the traditional unit party was cancelled. The resources we set aside for the parties will instead be used for humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations."

"Our efforts shall be limited to augmenting the efforts of the Office of Civil Defense following the Regional Disaster and Risk Reduction Management system of the region. The Office of Civil Defense 8 shall spearhead this effort," Layug added.

General De Leon in his message said, "Our responders in Region 8 are themselves affected and in need of assistance along with the communities. We are in need of assistance from other regions and provinces. We are appealing for food,  water, other basic household needs, as well as roofing and carpentry materials to repair damaged roofs. The AFP shall mobilize, deliver goods and help in the repair of shelters, to enliven the Filipino tradition of bayanihan."

On December 15, 2021 prior to the landfall of Typhoon Odette, all of 8ID brigades and battalions were already in touch and have meetings with local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils. The 8ID issued Red Alert to all its units.

Volunteers and donors may get in touch with OG7, 8ID Hotline: 09567116048 or at the Office of Civil Defense Region 8: 09071723442. (8ID)

About the Author

Ninfa Iluminada Quirante

Assistant Regional Head

Region 8

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