MANILA – Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte and ACT-CIS Party-list Rep. Eric Yap pledged to donate PHP5 million as an immediate financial assistance to the families of the military troops and civilians who perished in the July 4 crash of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) C-130H Hercules cargo plane in Patikul, Sulu.
According to a statement on Tuesday, the donation will be turned over in Camp Aguinaldo on Monday and is expected to be received by ranking officials of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Duterte extended his deepest condolences to the bereaved families and loved ones of those who died in the incident.
“Last Sunday, we lost some of our troops and civilians in a plane crash in Patikul, Sulu. To us, they are heroes and we salute them for their sacrifices. But to their families, they are everything,” Duterte said. “We are one with you in prayers and I pray that you shall be blessed with solace and strength to endure the days ahead.”
Yap expressed sadness over the tragic incident, noting that the fallen soldiers have only wanted to serve the country and strengthen the fight against terrorism.
“Kami sa Benguet ay nakikiramay sa mga pamilya ng naiwan nating sundalo at sibilyan (We, in Benguet, condole with the families left behind by our soldiers and civilians),” Yap said.
Yap said Duterte immediately called him about his plan to provide assistance to the families of the deceased and injured troops and civilians.
Yap also noted that part of the donations came from the business sector of Davao City and Benguet.
“Maliit lang na halaga ito kumpara sa sakripisyo na kanilang ginawa at sa serbisyo nila para sa bansa (This is just a small amount compared to the sacrifice and service that they offered to our country),” Yap said.
Duterte said he is confident that the national government will provide whatever support that the victims and their families may need, and ensure that no similar incident will occur in the future.
“We honor the lives of our State defenders that we lost in this tragedy. No amount of money can compensate the sacrifice they have done but I hope that this can somehow help them for their immediate needs,” the presidential son said.
Aside from the 49 military fatalities, three civilians also died in the mishap.
Meanwhile, 46 soldiers and four civilians were wounded in the incident. (PNA)