Soldiers—many of them in their 20s to early 30s– are rushed daily to V. Luna Medical Center from Marawi, wounded from shrapnel, snipers, mortars, IEDs and even land mines but their spirits are high and they are determined to even the score with the enemies.
Some of them have battled with the Maute gang, the Abu Sayyaf, the BIFF and even the New People’s Army in Mindanao and the Visayas.
But one thing they have that their enemies don’t have is the active support of individuals and private groups/companies, who provide them with medical health facilities and comfort; basic personal hygiene materials; air-conditioned and fully-equipped medical wards; medicines; and other naval medical and information facilities as well as well-trained hospital medical crew.
Even those in armed medical institutions in Cagayan de Oro, Davao, Iligan, Nueva Ecija and other provinces of the country are given this same amount of care and comfort with the facilities and dispensaries rehabilitated and refurbished recently by private companies.
Led by Debbie Pe Sy, executive director of SM Foundation; Chito Macapagal, trustee and corporate affairs head of SM Group, Annie Garcia, president of SM Supermalls and Connie Angeles, Executive Director for Health & Medical Programs visited those in the AFP Medical Center and spoke with the wounded soldiers of Marawi and other battles as they distributed 122 bags of personal hygiene and transistor radios to help the soldiers battle occasional depression, loneliness and anxieties.
The visit was timed with the 119th Founding anniversary of the AFP Medical Service that day, which was also the venue by which the armed service thanked its private sector partners, who have held their hands during such torturous times.
A group of soldiers at the recovery ward—who were confined earlier at AFPMC for battling with NPAs, BIFF and ASG—were being taught to make a hammock for their livelihood program should they decide to leave the force. They were all in their ripe young adult ages and hailed from Kidapawan, Cotabato; Iloilo; Samar; Ilocos; Davao and Negros. They said in unison that this is their first time to be hit by the enemy after several battles.
Other soldiers at the Convalescence Ward will not be able to go back to active service and will be given computers as well as training as alternative source of livelihood.
Five young doctors from UST, UREM, Central Philippines University, FEU hospital and the Our Lady of Fatima College have been working round the clock at the Heroes Ward & Orthopedic Ward. The Convalescence Ward is likewise being used to treat the wounded and those on their way to recovery are brought to the Fort Magasaysay Health Facility.
As AFP Surgeon General BGen. Joseph Acosta said, still many soldiers are confined at Camp Evangelista in CDO, the Adventist Hospital in Iligan and in Northern Mindanao Medical Center.
The SM Foundation Inc. has rehabilitated three of the biggest wards at the AFP Medical Center in V. Luna namely the Heroes Ward and the Convalescence and Orthopedic wards where hundreds of wounded soldiers are taken for thorough treatment and recovery.
A grateful AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Ano said the support extended by private partners among them SM Foundation, Mercury Drug, San Miguel Corporation has made the uniformed men feel more determined to fight and protect the citizens from internal and external invasions and the adventurism of wayward elements.