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Aquino thanks soldiers for service during Yolanda, other calamities

A Philippine Air Forces helicopter drops relief supplies for Typhoon Haiyan survivors in Barangay San Antonio, Basey Samar November 25, 2013. Haiyan, the biggest storm ever to make landfall, struck the central Visayan islands on November 8, killing more than 5,200 people, displacing 4.4 million and destroying about 12 billion pesos in crops, property and infrastructure.  (MNS photo)

A Philippine Air Forces helicopter drops relief supplies for Typhoon Haiyan survivors in Barangay San Antonio, Basey Samar November 25, 2013. Haiyan, the biggest storm ever to make landfall, struck the central Visayan islands on November 8, killing more than 5,200 people, displacing 4.4 million and destroying about 12 billion pesos in crops, property and infrastructure. (MNS photo)

MANILA  (Mabuhay) – President Benigno Aquino III on Monday thanked the members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines for their service during calamities, specifically Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).

“Taos-puso tayong nagpapasalamat sa lahat ng kasapi ng ating unipormadong hanay na talaga naman pong hindi umaatras sa mga dumarating na delubyo. Buong bayan po ang nagpupugay sa inyong sipag at propesyunalismo,” Aquino said during his speech at the joint graduation of 140 cadets of the major services pre-entry officer courses at Camp Aguinaldo.

The President, who presided over the graduation rites for the first time, cited the soldiers’ work during the onslaught of Yolanda.

Sa mukha ng trahedya, nariyan kayo’t rumesponde upang kumalinga, at paghugutan ng lakas at pag-asa ng mga biktima… Kayo ang humukay sa putikan upang mabigyan ng mas marangal na pagkakahimlay ang mga nasawi,” he said, also citing the work of firefighters, police, and volunteers.

Kayo ang kumalinga sa mga biktimang kailangang lapatan ng pangunang lunas. Kayo ang pumasan sa saku-sakong bigas na kailangang maihatid sa mga apektadong bayan. Kayo ang katuwang ng mga pamilyang naghahanap ng kakapitan, upang gabayan silang muling tumayo sa sariling mga paa, at umahon mula sa nagdaang trahedya,” he said.

On the other hand, Aquino thanked the graduating cadets for their willingness to render the same kind of service that was given by active soldiers.

He likewise said he is grateful that they chose to serve the Philippines despite enticing opportunities in other fields locally and abroad.

Samakatuwid, isinantabi ninyo ang pansariling interes para sa kapakanan ng kalakhang lipunan. Kaya naman hindi rin tayo nag-aatubiling hirangin at bigyan ng karapat-dapat na pagkilala ang mga kawal nating buong husay at katapatang naglilingkod sa lahat ng pagkakataon,” he said.

Umaasa akong hindi kayo mawawalan ng loob, umaasa akong hindi kayo mauubusan ng puso. Army man, Navy, o Air Force, kompiyansa akong isasabuhay ninyo ang inyong sinumpaang tungkulin,” he added.

In return, he assured the new graduates that the government will not back down from its commitment to modernize the Armed Forces.

Mayroon na kayong gobyernong lubos na kumakalinga sa inyong kapakanan,” he said.

Aquino had earlier been criticized for his administration’s handling of Yolanda relief efforts.

The Palace had even admitted that it had shortcomings in its response and preparations for the super typhoon.

The President, however, blamed their slow response to the collapse of local government in the face of the strong storm.

He has since said that the matter is subject of an investigation.

Aquino ordered an investigation into the “extraordinarily high” number of casualties in certain Yolanda-hit areas in the Visayas, Malacañang said Friday, after the number of fatalities exceeded initial government estimates. (MNS)

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