MANILA – While most of us find ways to connect and celebrate this Christmas season, soldiers, who are among those on the frontline in the fight against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, continue to provide services for Filipinos.
Apart from securing the country and protecting the people, soldiers have been visible in the country’s fight against Covid-19.
They are also involved in the response and rescue efforts during calamities.
Some of them shared to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) the fulfillment they get from spreading and boosting the Christmas spirit through lending a helping hand.
Airman 2nd class Charles Albert Caayaman, 25, a native of Bohol and assigned to the Civil-Military Operations Group of the Philippine Air Force, said he could not come home to celebrate Christmas with his family in the province due to the pandemic.
But he said this will not be a huge sacrifice on his part.
“For me, isa itong inspirasyon na kahit may pandemya, wag tayong mawalan ng pag-asa (This is an inspiration for me, that we should not lose hope even with the pandemic),” he said.
Caayaman said this is also part of the Filipino soldier’s continuing service particularly to our countrymen in need.
“Malaking bagay na yun sa amin na masasabi namin na ang hindi namin pag-uwi mas nakatulong pa kami sa ating mga kababayan at andyan kami na handang tumugon sa ano mang pangangailangan (It’s a big thing for us to say that staying at work would allow us to help more countrymen and we’re always there to provide whatever they need),” he said.
Caayaman said the challenges posed by the health crisis and the recent typhoons could be a reminder of the true reason as to why we celebrate Christmas.
He added that the true meaning of the yuletide season for soldiers is “filling the empty containers” through their service for the country and the people.
“Sa ngayon na may pandemya, iniisip ko na mas kinakailangan ako ng aking bansa (I think that the country needed me more since there is a pandemic),” he said.
Caayaman, meanwhile, urged Filipinos to keep themselves safe from the risks of Covid-19.
“Sa kabila po ng mga kinakaharap po natin na mga krisis ay manatili po tayong matatag dahil pinapakita natin yung character ng isang Pilipino yung positive, resiliency na kahit anong mangyari babangon tayo at kaya natin to, kailangan lang nating magtulungan at suportahan ang ating pamahalaan sa kanyang mga efforts para sa bayan (Despite the crisis that we are facing, we should stay strong as we show the Filipino character of being positive and resilient. Whatever happens, we will rise again and we can do it. We just need to work together and support the government’s efforts for our country),” said Caayaman.
Meanwhile, Lt. Jeremy Remegia, 35, a native of Zamboanga City, said being on the frontline during the pandemic is part of the soldier’s commitment to serving the nation.
“It’s part of our job to be ready when the need arises and that will be our foremost priority, for us to be able to help the communities and the people,” he said.
Remegia said soldiers will make the most out of the Christmas despite the prevailing health crisis.
“We are with our fellow soldiers. This is one big family for us, we share the camaraderie and spirit and of Christmas, and at the same time, we are also exercising safety in consideration naman po sa (to our) Covid-19 [cases] natin,” he said, adding that they are blessed with the opportunities to serve the country.
Remegia reminded the public to continue adhering to the minimum health standards to prevent being infected by Covid-19.
On Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte expressed admiration to soldiers for their “crucial role” in the government’s fight against pandemic.
During the founding anniversary of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Duterte praised the military for its 85 years of “selfless service to the nation”.
“This year, we were faced with the most daunting health crisis in recent history. This invisible enemy – Covid-19 – caused a global pandemic that swept across the world and radically changed our way of life,” Duterte said.
Duterte also acknowledged the response efforts of the soldiers for those affected by the typhoons and other calamities this year.
“On behalf of a grateful nation, I express my most profound gratitude to you for your willingness to serve at the frontlines as our nation faced these natural disasters, calamities, and a global pandemic. (PNA)