AFP modernization to stop the bleeding
MANILA, Philippines—More soldiers will literally bleed to death in Mindanao if the military fails to upgrade its equipment.
The immediate modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) would save more troops battling Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels, Sen. Richard Gordon said Sunday at the Balitaan sa Tinapayan press forum in Sampaloc, Manila.
Gordon, who is also chair of the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC), cited the case of Marine Cpl. Angelo Abeto who bled for four hours while waiting for a helicopter to fly him out of Tipo-Tipo, Basilan, last month.
Abeto, 30, died from a shrapnel wound in the head while finally being airlifted to Zamboanga by a helicopter contracted by the United States military. The AFP’s Vietnam-War era UH-1H helicopters reportedly failed to fly due to bad weather.
“Many more would survive, including civilians caught in the crossfire, but who will transport them to hospitals? If we had more helicopters, they could receive medical treatment as soon as possible,” Gordon said in Filipino.
Another big blow was the recent loss of one of the military’s two C-130 transport planes. Although a new cargo plane will arrive this month, the senator said the acquisition of three more helicopters should be pushed to increase mobilization.
Despite assistance from the PNRC, Gordon said servicemen were still poorly supported as they lacked “medical packs” or first aid kits.
A comprehensive plan for the bereaved soldiers’ families was also lacking, Gordon noted, as in the case of Lt. Col. Angelo Benitez, whose wife did not have a job.
AFP modernization to stop the bleeding – Gordon
By Allison Lopez
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 05:14:00 09/01/2008