By Martin Sadongodng
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has raised P16.9 million in donation from the portions of the salary of its 140,000-strong personnel to help in the government’s response to the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, it bared on May 15, Friday.
General Felimon Santos, AFP Chief of Staff, turned over a check worth P16,901,934.27 to Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Administrator Ricardo Jalad in a ceremony held at the OCD Building inside Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.
“The AFP’s pledge of donation was a humble gesture of solidarity with the government as it shares the nation’s burden in the effort to battle the deadly disease,” he said.
The AFP Chief said the amount was collectively raised by the General Headquarters (AFP-GHQ), Philippine Army, Philippine Air Force, and Philippine Navy from a portion of their members’ salaries.
He said the percent deduction from each soldier’s salary was equitable according to their rank which included cadets, candidate soldiers, and probationary officers.
Santos, as the highest military official, had the biggest contribution worth P10,484 which accounted to about seven percent of his monthly salary.
Meanwhile, the lowest ranking soldier—a private, an airman, or an apprentice seaman—donated P100 each from their salaries.
Santos said the amount was reflective of the AFP’s present fill-up of personnel with the exception of civilian human resources.
Aside from the donation, Santos said the military continues its nationwide operations to assist the government in combatting COVID-19, especially with the transition to a modified enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila, Laguna province, and Cebu City beginning May 16, Saturday, until May 31.
At least 23,464 combined active soldiers and reservists were deployed in quarantine assistance stations nationwide as of May 13, the military chief said.
The AFP has also initiated mobility operations to transport relief aid to communities affected by the Luzon-wide lockdown in place since March, and essential workers, such as medical and healthcare workers and other frontliners who have been stranded due to the paralyzed transport system.
Since April 20, Santos said the military has assisted 70,607 passengers, while over two million food packs have been distributed in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
Various air and naval assets are also being used by the military to fetch medical equipment procured from and donated by other countries to the Philippines.
Lastly, the military’s “Kapwa Ko, Sagot Ko” campaign has benefitted over 55,000 individuals through various lines of humanitarian activities and relief programs.