Christmas cheer: AFP gives P19M for 'Pablo' aid

By Jay Ruiz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 21 2012 12:50 PM | Updated as of Dec 22 2012 01:11 AM

MANILA, Philippines - After canceling its Christmas parties this year, the military on Friday said it is giving P19.1 million to help victims of Typhoon Pablo.

In his remarks during the AFP's 77th anniversary, Armed Forces chief of staff Gen. Jessie Dellosa said the military has saved more than P19 million in savings, donations and contributions from soldiers and the Department of National Defense to be given to victims of Typhoon Pablo.

The military earlier canceled the General Headquarters and Headquarters Support Command Christmas parties as well as a joint Christmas party with the DND. It also shelved the traditional fly by and traditional ball and dinner for former chiefs of staff and dignitaries. 

Dellosa said soldiers of the Eastern Mindanao Command are continuing search, rescue and rehabilitation efforts in the typhoon devastated provinces of Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental.

He thanked soldiers and AFP officials for their continued sacrifice and heroism in the service of the country. He urged them to continue on the straight path of the Aquino administration. 

He also thanked President Aquino for his support for the AFP. 

For his part, President Aquino thanked the soldiers and officials for their dedication and sacrifice. 

He said that with the signing of the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement, peace and harmony will soon be achieved in Muslim Mindanao.

Aquino said the government has instituted a housing program for more than 9,000 soldiers. It also allocated P28 billion for the AFP modernization program.

The President said gone are the days when the Philippine Navy will fear tetanus from their rusting ships because it now has new ships and boats. 

He said the Philippine Army and Philippine Air Force will also acquire new planes, trucks and tanks aside from new weapons and force protection.

After the speeches, the audience was treated to a skydiving exhibition and a pass in review, which includes a motorized contingent of the AFP.

Not present at the exhibition were the military's disaster response manpower and equipment, which are currently in Mindanao.