Filipino community in Texas sends gifts to wounded troops

MANILA — Troops wounded-in-action in the ongoing operations against Maute Group terrorists in Marawi City got a pleasant surprise from a Filipino community in Texas, United States last Tuesday.

In a statement Thursday, Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the gift-giving event took place at the Heroes Ward of the AFP Medical Center along V. Luna Road in Quezon City.

An estimated 900 troopers were reported wounded and another 129 killed in the ongoing anti-terror campaign in Marawi City which started last May 23 after an attempt to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon and his cohorts.

“This is actually a reflection of the good reputation that the Armed Forces has, hindi lang dito sa Pilipinas kung ‘di sa abroad. Mataas na ang ating prestige doon kasi lahat tayo sumusunod sa batas,” Lorenzana said.

Lorenzana also thanked the San Angelo, Texas, Filipino Community and Rhea Agatep-Hale who initiated the collection of donations from community members. “

“Sabi nga niya, ‘Nag-umpisa ‘lang sa bahay ito. Then lumaki nang lumaki hanggang sa dumami na ‘yung participants and they had to transfer to a convention center,” Lorenzana said.

As the number of donors increased, the initial USD2,000 worth of donations has reached USD7,000 (PHP350,000), the DND chief said.

The turn-over of gifts to the patients was facilitated by the Defense Intelligence and Security Group (DISG) of the DND headed by Lt. Col. Estrellito P. Romero.

It is part of the month-long series of activities in celebration of the DISG’s 26th Anniversary which included the SND Cup, an invitational shooting competition held to raise funds for the beneficiaries of the AFP Educational Benefit Systems Office (AFPEBSO).

DISG was able to raise PHP150,000 which was formally turned over on Aug. 16 to AFPEBSO to help fund the education of children of soldiers who were killed or wounded in action.

Lorenzana likewise thanked the officers and enlisted personnel of the DISG for facilitating the gift-giving to their fellow soldiers. He also lauded them for ensuring safety in the department, providing the necessary physical protection to the Secretary of National Defense and other DND officials, and rendering critical intelligence support.

He also commended its members for regularly conducting community and environment-related activities. Established in 1991, the DISG has evolved from an ad hoc security unit created under the then Ministry of National Defense to a recognized support unit of the DND.

It will culminate its anniversary celebration this Aug. 24 with a simple program at the DISG Mini Park with the launch of its first-ever coffee table book, “Inside the Vest and Armor,” which tells the story of the DISG’s evolution and its tireless efforts in contributing to the DND’s mandate of guarding the nation against external and internal security threats.