Lower House officials join national mourning over death of 50 soldiers

Published July 5, 2021, 7:23 PM

by Ben Rosario

As grief enveloped the nation over the death of 50 soldiers during a C-130 crash in Sulu, Speaker Lord Allan Velasco vowed to strongly push for an upgrade and modernization of the country’s air assets, saying that what happened on Sunday, July 4 must not occur again in the future.

Velasco led congressional leaders in extending sympathies to the bereaved family of the newly-trained soldiers who perished in the crash landing of the military aircraft that carried at least 97 passengers, most of them soldiers to Patikul town.

“There are simply no words that can be said to console those left behind by our brave military personnel, as well as the three civilians who died as a result of this disaster,” Velasco said.

“I can only give my word that we in the House of Representatives will include in the 2022 budget the modernization of the PAF’s fleet as well as ensure the proper training of personnel in handling modern equipment,” the House official stated.

The Speaker also called for a review of PAF pilots’ protocols as well as an inquiry on the safety of runways around the country, especially in the provinces.

House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez and Deputy Speaker and Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman also issued statements extending their condolences to the AFP and the family of the dead soldiers.

“Full government assistance and benefits should be extended to the loved ones of our fallen soldiers and survivors the soonest time possible,” said Romualdez.

He added: “The House of Representatives will await for a full report from the Defense Secretary who ordered an investigation on this tragic incident.”

For his part, Hataman stated: “Again, we condole with the families of the victims and we pay our deepest respects to our fallen soldiers.” Ang Probinsyano Partylist Rep. Ronnie Ong said he is joining the nation in mourning for the soldiers and civilians who died in the Patikul incident.

“I also pray for the quick recovery of those who were injured. This tragedy should remind us of the daily perils faced by our soldiers and their sacrifices to serve our country and our people,” said Ong.