Bayanihan in action: Strangers carry excess baggage of Mindanao-bound soldiers

Abigail Kwok, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 19 2017 05:58 PM | Updated as of Jul 19 2017 09:29 PM

Photo by Inday Rakel

As fighting raged on in Marawi, ordinary Filipinos showed their appreciation for our soldiers in their own little way.

Facebook user Inday Rakel narrated how passengers of an AirAsia flight helped three Mindanao-bound soldiers -- two of whom were headed for strife-torn Marawi City and another for Cotabato -- with their excess baggage.

“I am on queue for my flight bound to Davao tonight (18-7-17) with flight no. Z2615. Ahead of me were 3 humble soldiers. When their turn came to check their luggage in, the lads got an excess with their luggage weight,” she said in a post on AirAsia’s Facebook page.

The three soldiers, she said, stepped back and tried to sort their stuff without any complaints.

“But even if how hardly they tried, still there was a 7 kgs. excess in one of the soldier’s [luggage],” Inday narrated.

“After learning where they were bound to, I felt the need to talk to the Supervisor. I mean, these men are risking their lives for our security, our peace, our freedom…can’t they be granted with [little] bit of privilege? At least a free 7 kgs luggage,” she added.

But before she could speak to the airline supervisor, a passenger had already offered to take in some of the soldier’s belongings. Inday herself said she offered to put the soldier’s shoes in her bag as she still had an extra 2 kilos available.

“I am blessed to somehow help them with their luggage, and that was a little thank you for the bigger job they are doing. But, we are even blessed to have these men who are ready to die for our freedom, for our land,” Inday said.

The Facebook post has gained over 34,000 likes and 5,200 shares as of this posting.

In an interview with ABS-CBN News, Inday said she did not intend to criticize the airline or its employees.

“Siguro magagawan naman ng paraan ng AirAsia ang mga ganyang bagay. Nakakalungkot lang kasi tingnan, sila po yung lumalaban para sa kalayaan natin. A little treat naman lang sana para sa kanila,” she said.

In a statement, AirAsia Philippines CEO Captain Dexter Comendador said that they “recognize the incredible sacrifice of our military heroes and the Bayanihan spriit among Filipinos.” Following the incident, AirAsia said it will be increasing the free baggage allowance to 40 kilos to all AFP personnel on a peace-keeping mission “upon presentation of their official Id and mission order effective immediately.”

AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla called the incident “very inspiring and heartening.”

“We truly appreciate their support and the overwhelming support we are getting from the public. We take this as our source of inspiration and strength...Sana hindi po kayo magsawa sa panalangin para sa ating kawal at para sa kapayapaan para sa ating inang bayan,” he added.