By Francis Wakefield
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) recently signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA)with the Department of Transportation – Metro Rail Transit 3 (DOTr – MRT 3) for a partnership to give free rides in MRT 3 to all active military personnel.
Present during the MOA signing were Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, DOTr-MRT GM (retired general) Rodolfo Garcia, Undersecretary for Railways Atty. Timothy John Batan, and other key persons who made the project into reality.
The MOA stipulates that all active military personnel, even in civilian attire, are entitled to ride the MRT-3 (North Avenue – Taft) free of charge upon showing their AFP identification cards as access pass. These are all in recognition to the sacrifices of men in uniform.
“Simple as it may seem, this offer of respect, this offer of gratitude, comes from the bottom of our hearts. Idol namin kayo. Mahal namin kayo. Kung meron kaming isang maliit na bagay na mabibigay sa inyo, gaya ng libreng sakay at libreng pamasahe, ibibigay namin sa inyo ‘yan dahil kinikilala namin ang inyong katungkulan, kinikilala namin ang inyong pagmamahal sa bayan,” Tugade said.
On the other hand, the AFP will provide media mileage to DOTr-MRT 3 and the Department of Transportation through the Civil Relations Service AFP (CRSAFP), such as DOTr’s regular guesting at CRS Virtual TV, airtime at CRSVTV and DWDD radio station, and a space at the AFP’s “Ang Tala” magazine publication.
The AFP will also provide information materials on crime prevention, safety tips and AFP programs to be posted on DOTr – MRT 3 spaces.
For his part, Garcia said the AFP is already assisting the DOTr – MRT 3 to secure their facilities, “not only through the CRS but also with the Intelligence Service of the AFP.”
“The MRT is a vital installation and it needs to be protected,” Garcia said.
Both the AFP and MRT-3 are looking forward to further build up advance coordination for emergency and crisis responses in the future.
“AFP chief of staff Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. extends our sincerest and heartfelt gratitude to the DOTr and the management of MRT-3 for their recognition of the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform,” said AFP Civil Relations Service chief and concurrent spokesman Brig. Gen. Bienvenido Datuin.
The MOA was signed by Datuin and Garcia at the MRT-3 Depot, Quezon City, and shall take effect upon the MOA’s approval by the Secretaries of the National Defense and Transportation, respectively. The agreement was noted by the AFP chief of staff and Atty. Timothy John Batan.
“Doing this endeavor shows your (DOTr – MRT 3) continuing trust and cooperation with the armed forces. This is a big boost to our soldier’s morale, especially after being granted the same privilege in LRT-2 December of last year. Tunay na nakakataba ng puso at nagbibigay gana at ibayong lakas sa kawal Pilipino,” Datuin added.