Muted AFP celebrations amid Pablo devastation

Posted at 12/17/2012 6:17 PM

MANILA - The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will still celebrate its 77th foundation anniversary on December 21, but without fanfare.

The soldiers will be where they are most needed on Friday, AFP deputy chief of staff for operations Brig. Gen. Aurelio Baladad said.

"We also removed the (display of) floats, assets that are needed in Mindanao…We are also doing away with the fly-by of air assets that are needed in Mindanao," Baladad
told reporters.

Hundreds of government troops are involved in search, rescue and retrieval operations for about 844 people still missing after typhoon Pablo brought disaster two weeks ago. They are also assisting in relief operations for over six million people affected.

He said the parade will still be there, but not composed of a battalion. "We are toning it down in a sense but there still the celebration, the traditional parade will still continue….We removed some of the activities and we shortened (the celebration).”

Col. Gerardo Zamudio, chief of the public affairs division at the office of the AFP deputy chief of staff for civil military operations, said at least P500,000 will already be saved if they let go of the civil military operations floats.

"I believe we are going to save a lot…One of the intentions is to use it to sustain disaster response operations and another intention is to donate,” said Baladad of the savings that will be generated.