PNP, AFP deploy all-female contingent for Marawi mission
A 100-strong all-female team was sent off by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Tuesday at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City to conduct non-combat mission in Marawi City.
AFP chief Gen. Eduardo Año led the send-off ceremonies for the Civil Relations Company composed of 60 enlisted personnel from the Philippine Army and 40 non-commissioned police officers who will assist the rehabilitation and recovery efforts in Marawi City.
Four female Army officers and one PNP officer will lead the mission.
“Hindi nagtatapos sa pagpuksa ng Grupong Maute ang ating tungkulin. Dapat din nating isipin ang mga hakbang upang muling ibangon at ibalik sa dating ganda ang Lungsod ng Marawi,” Año said in his speech at the ceremony.
(Our duty does not end with the defeat of the Maute group. We should also consider other steps to bring back the old glory of Marawi City.)
“Maaring mawalay kayo sa mga boyfriend, asawa, anak ninyo, isipin ninyo ang pagsasakripisyo niyo ay maliit lamang kumpara sa mga nag-alay ng buhay para sa bayan,” he added.
(You may be separated from your boyfriend, husband and children, but also bear in mind that your sacrifice could be not as much as those who laid down their lives for our country.)
Eldest of the female security forces deployed was aged 44 while the youngest was 22.
“Karamihan din sa mga naging matinding biktima ng kaguluhan sa Marawi ay mga kababaihan at kabatana kaya’t mas maiintindihan nila ang kanilang kalagayan. At syempre, sino nga naman ang makakatanggi at makakaiwas sa likas na alindog ng naggagandahang kababaihan?” the AFP chief said.
(Most of the victims of violence in Marawi are women and children that is why this new deployment of women [from the AFP and PNP] can easily understand the needs of people. And who would resist the natural beauty of women?)
Seventy-six of those who were chosen to be sent to Marawi are single, as Año said this will allow them to focus on their tasks.
Prior to the send-off, the all-female team completed the required pre-deployment training organized by the AFP Civil Military Operations School and Teach Peace, Build Peace Movement.
They will be deployed in evacuation centers and communities in need of great rehabilitation as a recognition for the need “to address the substantial psychological stress experienced by the residents of Marawi.”
“Batid namin na nakakaramdam kayo ng kaba at pag aalinlangan lalo na sa di pa nakakarating sa Mindanao lalo na sa Marawi. Huwag kayong matatakot sapagkat hindi kayo papabayaan ng Poong Maykapal,” the AFP chief said.
(We understand that you feel worry and hesitation especially for those who haven’t been yet to Mindanao, particularly Marawi. Be courageous because God will always be with you.)
The female soldiers and police will be deployed for about one to three months before the next rotation.
The fighting between government forces and Maute terrorist group that started on May 23, and has reached its 99th day on Tuesday. The gunbattle has left 133 security forces, 45 civilians, and 614 terrorists killed. JPV