(Edited Press Release)
Cebu Pacific Air is providing free airlift to members of government troops who are wounded in action amid an ongoing siege in Marawi City (being attacked by the Maute terrorist group since May 23). The airline is also giving free baggage allowance up to 40 kilograms to such personnel.
This initiative is aimed at augmenting air support currently rendered by the Philippine Air Force, which is transferring wounded soldiers and policemen from field hospitals in and around the besieged city to bigger hospitals of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in other parts of the country.
This support from the company could also help de-clog field medical stations so that those could further accommodate more wounded fighters from the government’s side.
“It is with deep gratitude that we accept this kind of support by Cebu Pacific led by its President and CEO, Mr, Lance Gokongwei,” said Chief of the Public Affairs Office of the AFP, Marine Colonel Edgard Arevalo. “This will not just afford our troops immediate treatment in hospitals that offer better facilities to aid their speedy recovery, but a meaningful gesture to make our soldiers, airmen, sailors, and Marines feel that their sacrifices are being recognized and appreciated,” he added.
Spirit of ‘bayanihan‘
In a statement, PNP Public Information Office Chief Superintendent Dionardo Carlos expressed the gratefulness of its officers and rank-and-file personnel for this program, which he described as a “magnanimous expression of kindness and compassion.”
“This is not the first time that Cebu Pacific extended a helping hand to our troops,” Carlos said. “We cannot thank them enough for keeping the Filipino spirit of ‘bayanihan’ alive in such crucial time of emergency,” he added.
Starting immediately, wounded government troops who could already take commercial flights will be accommodated without any charge in Cebu Pacific domestic flight originating from Laguindingan Airport in Cagayan de Oro. The carrier presently flies directly from Cagayan de Oro to Bacolod, Tagbilaran in Bohol, Cebu, Iloilo, Manila, and even Davao. This will also cover flights from Cagayan de Oro to Zamboanga City, a route that will begin operations on July 26.
Other forms of support
Aside from this effort, Cebu Pacific has also begun transporting cargo of relief goods as well as other forms of humanitarian assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and from private organizations like the GMA Kapuso Foundation and the Philippine Business for Social Progress. The company said this is a way to support affected and displaced residents of Marawi.
Cebu Pacific is set to continuously provide free cargo support to carry relief goods and other important items to victims of siege in Marawi and in nearby areas. Moreover, it is also rendering transport support for equipment and humanitarian assistance of the Office of Civil Defense.