TACLOBAN CITY- Hats off to the Filipino soldiers.
Thus said Julian Herrera, senior protection officer of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), who commended the government soldiers for their help during the calamity relief efforts, particularly in the retrieval of dead bodies.
Herrera said that the soldiers gave their best during the entire operations unmindful that they are even risking their own security and health in carrying their tasks.
“I’m not here to make pronouncements but I think they are working very hard. Filipinos should be proud of them. Under these incredible circumstances, they are stepping up and doing their tasks,” Herrera said in an interview.
He added that with the commendable act of the soldiers during the calamity, this would “help strengthen their image with the population.”
“That the armed forces are capable of doing things other than just being soldiers,” the UNHCR official said.
About 2,500 soldiers belonging to the different battalions of the 8th Infantry Division based in Catbalogan City, Samar were deployed in areas affected by supertyphoon Yolanda, particularly in Tacloban City, not only to help in the clearing and cleaning of debris but in the retrieval of dead bodies under the rubble.
Herrera said that retrieving dead bodies from the rubble of debris is not an easy task but the soldiers did the task with utmost care and respect to the recovered cadavers.
“The issue on the recovering the remains of a member of a family is something that is you know, close to every family; dear to every family. Think about it,” Herrera said, referring how important the recovery of dead persons to their surviving relatives.
Supertyphoon Yolanda had resulted to the deaths of 5,803 across Eastern Visayas with Tacloban having the highest number of death toll at 2,540 as of January 14.
This positive observation of the UNHCR official obviously warm the hearts of Brigadier General Rolando Malinao, assistant division of the 8th ID and general officer-in-charge of the Task Force Yolanda.
“It’s uplifting. It’s very inspiring and with that comment, we will do more our as mandated,” Malinao said.
Private First Class Marlon Arguilles said that he was glad that their effort is being recognized though he was quick to say that it was part of their duty.
“When we retrieve a corpse, we do it with utmost care. We just thought that this dead body could just be a relative of ours who died while trying to escape from the onslaught of Yolanda,” Arguilles said.
Malinao added that aside from helping in the retrieval of the dead persons and in the clearing operations, the soldiers also help in securing the safety of all those international and local organizations that descended to help the typhoon victims. (JOEY A. GABIETA)