Ayungin Shoal troops continue to receive gifts from fellowmen

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Friday, March 21, 2014


SOLDIERS guarding the country's territory in the West Philippine Sea continue to receive supplies of food and other physical needs from their fellowmen worldwide on a monthly basis, a military official said.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) 7th Civil Relations Group head Lieutenant Colonel Harold Cabunoc, in a phone interview, said groups such as the Philippine Defense Forces Forum, a group composed of civilians and Reserve Officers' Training Corps alumni; and Spratlys Atin Ito, which consists of reservists and civilians and Filipinos from Australia, Germany, the United States and Hong Kong continue to send at least one box of assorted goods in every territory in the Ayungin Shoal every month.

Tagged "Saludo (salute) Packages," the boxes contains toiletries, movie or music discs, news magazines and other goods not usually included in the military supplies delivered to them from the government, such as, cigarettes, chocolates, candies and food seasoning or condiments.

Organizers also encouraged the contributors to send instant noodles and canned goods.

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Cabunoc, also one of the organizers of the program, said the effort started in 2013 through the social networking site, Facebook which gained support from the military partners, Filipinos working abroad and advocacy groups to boost the morale of soldiers who indulged themselves in serving the country despite any difficulties and risks.

The troops in the said territory continue to encounter Chinese naval blockade that were insisting that they own the area.

Cabunoc said the plan was to cheer the soldiers who left their families at home and choose to protect the sovereignty of the nation even on holidays, particularly on Christmas day but afterwards decided to continue the effort even if holidays were over.

"Our soldiers are guarding our territory and we are sending them simple gifts to express our appreciation to their efforts and sacrifice," he said.

Cabunoc said these simple gestures mean a lot to the military personnel who work with their one foot in the doorsteps of death.

Military units receiving supplies are the Armed Forces 7th Civil Relations Group, the Armed Forces Western Command and the Philippine Marine Corps. (Sunnex)

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