TACLOBAN CITY – Over 300 South Korean soldiers are to arrive in Leyte before the end of this month as similar number of soldiers assigned here for their government’s humanitarian response due to supertyphoon Yolanda are to return back to their country. This was revealed by Colonel ChulWon Lee, commander of the South Korean contingent dubbed as “Araw Forces Joint Support Group,” in a press conference on May 30, 2014. According to Lee, of the 300 members of their contingent, 13% of them will remain being officials of the echelon. The new batch of the Korean humanitarian contingent will arrive on June 28 as they will also focus on the rebuilding and rehabilitation of public schools and offices and also help repair the damages houses owned by Filipino veterans of the Korean War. “I hope that they will be received by the locals with the same response they did to the first batch,” said Lee, referring to the incoming members of their contingents. Lee said that the six month period stay of their members is enough as they also miss their loved ones back home, among other reasons. The South Korean military forces arrived in the region January, 2014. They set up their camp at the Government Center, Barangay Candahug in Palo, Leyte. And during their stay in Leyte for more than six months now, they helped repair 15 public schools in Palo, Tanauan and Tolosa and the Leyte Provincial Hospital, Lee said. Aside from doing the repair of damaged public buildings, the Korean group also conducted medical missions in areas hit by Yolanda. Lee said that while Tacloban, considered to be the ground zero of Yolanda, is not part of their original area of assignment, they also join in the barangayan conducted by the city government and sometimes lend some of its equipment if there is a request. The areas where the Korean contingent conducts their humanitarian effort are mentioned under an agreement signed by the Philippine and Korean governments. Lee said that they are considering of expanding their areas to include the town of Dulag, another Yolanda-hit town in Leyte. Aside from helping in the rehabilitation of public buildings like schools, fire station, health centers, the Korean group also offers on training on heavy equipment operation and conduct language lessons. (ROEL T.AMAZONA)