AFP to public: Visit wounded soldiers in hospitals

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 19) — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is calling on the public to visit wounded soldiers who are currently recovering in hospitals.

AFP Spokesperson Restituto Padilla said in a June 19 press briefing in Malacañang that the soldiers would greatly appreciate the gesture.

"We are open to having our citizens come over and lift up their spirits," Padilla said.

Padilla also said it could also be an opportunity for people to find out what kind of assistance the soldiers really needed.

"They would appreciate your visit and it may be better if you ask them what they would really appreciate rather than bringing something that would may be over and above already what they have been getting," he said.

Around 60 to 80 soldiers are in critical care or recovering at the V. Luna General Hospital in Quezon City.

However, Padilla said all visits must be coordinated with hospital officials.

"They have more than enough for their personal necessities right now," he said. "And that's why the request was if you wish to help or donate, you can just do it in cash."

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in the same briefing that the AFP had opened Landbank accounts for donations intended for people displaced by the Marawi crisis and for the families of soldiers killed in action:

For the families of soldiers killed-in-action: 

  • Account Name: AFP Marawi Casualty
  • Account Number: 00000552107128

For the evacuees from Marawi City: 

  • Account Name: Marawi IDP
  • Account Number: 00000552107136

Abella also said donors could call or text LCDR Rose Abud, who will maintain records of donations and disbursements, at 0928-2643337 "to inform the AFP of such deposits made, the branch, the date, time, and (amount)."

AFP Public Affairs Office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo said as of June 18, P224,000 have been deposited for soldiers KIA, while P21,000 have been deposited for displaced Marawi residents.

"Coordinations are ongoing between the AFP and a local government unit for donations of P20,000 each for the families of each of the deceased soldier," he said.

Padilla said people could also give direct cash assistance to the wounded.

Earlier this month, President Rodrigo Duterte had said that he was planning to set aside P50 billion to set up a foundation to educate soldiers' children.

Back in the fight

Meanwhile, Padilla said some 50 slightly wounded soldiers from Marawi would be returning to the battlefield soon.

Padilla added that the soldiers insisted that they be redeployed to complete their mission in Marawi, requesting that their doctors to release them immediately from the hospital.

"We have about close to 50 of our own soldiers who have, by their insistent demand, the doctors consented and allowed them to return back," he said. "They want to be with their units to continue the fight, finish it."

Padilla says seeing wounded soldiers wanting to return to the field shows that the troops' are in "high morale."

As of June 18, the conflict has killed 26 civilians, 62 government troops and 257 terrorists since it started on May 23.

CNN Philippines Digital Producer VJ Bacungan contributed to this report.