A Filipino-Chinese business group hoping to “support” and “uplift” troops fighting in Marawi have donated 6,000 pairs of underwear.
Michael Que, chairman of the SDS International Charities, handed over the gift at Camp Lapu-Lapu in Cebu City today (Wednesday, June 28).
He said: “We want to support our troops in Marawi and to uplift their morale. We’re happy and honoured to be part of this programme.
“Our soldiers are sacrificing their lives and even their families for freedom and for our country. May peace eventually come.”
SDS International Charities is a group of 1,600 Chinese-Filipino businessmen in the Philippines who extend help to different sectors of the community.
Lieutenant General Oscar Lactao said the underwear would sent to soldiers fighting Islamist terrorists without delay.
“In behalf of the AFP Central Command, I’d like to thank SDS for the gift,” he said. “Thank you for your support.
“We already have many casualties in Marawi. I enjoin our people to support our troops. Your support will further strengthen our resolve to do our duty as protectors of the state.”
As well as the underwear, another boost for the nation’s army came from the Chinese government today, with a donation of rifles and ammunition worth 370 million pesos.
Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua said: “It is a demonstration of our growing bilateral relationship.
“It’s also a demonstration of a new era of friendly and cooperative relationship between our two militaries.”
The ambassador was speaking in the presence of President Duterte at Clark Air Base, where the military assistance was handed over.
The equipment included 3,000 rifles — sniper, automatic and high-precision — and six million pieces of ammunition.
Mr Zhao said more was yet to come, with a second batch promised within “several months”.
The ambassador also handed the president Duterte a 15-million peso cheque for the rehabilitation of Marawi.
“The donation of arms to the Armed Forces will contribute to the success in your battle against ISIS-related terrorists,” Mr Zhao said. “The Chinese government and military forces will continue to firmly support your fight against terrorism.”
He also said that as part of the “new era” of military ties between their two countries, the Philippines and China are to “explore the possibility of joint exercises, sharing intelligence” on counter-terrorism.
After inspecting the new equipment, the president said: “To Ambassador Zhao, please relay our sincerest thanks to President Xi Jinping and the government of the People’s Republic of China for its military aid package I will receive today in behalf of the Philippine government.”
The president’ warm words of thanks were in stark contrast to his response to receiving technical assistance from the USA in Marawi.
When asked about the help at a press conference in Cagayan de Oro, he gave grudging thanks but emphasised that he had not asked for the assistance.
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