Sunday, March 27, 2016


WHEN WAS THE LAST time I rode a military truck? I had never forgotten the date and that was in 1988. Yeah, that was 27 years ago! That time, I was whisked from Metro Manila to Camp Capinpin in Tanay, Rizal, along with many young men like me who felt it as personal adventure and as employment opportunity to join the enlisted ranks of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Today, July 12, 2015, Lady Reminisce comes knocking in my memory as I sat on the spartan seat of an Army M35 truck. The ribs that support the tarpaulin covering at the back and the wooden seats and backrests are noisy as was the last time I had ridden these. The rattling sounds are very familiar but gone are the fears and anxieties which I have experienced on my last transit with the M35.

The smoke from the overhead muffler found its way at the back and stayed until breeze sweeps it away when the truck moved. I hear coughs from among my co-passengers and sighs of relief when the smoke cleared. When the truck braked for a stop all passengers would squeeze forward and would squeeze backward when brake is released. Good thing we were not standing else we would ape Tarzan.

I am not into personal adventures this time but am a part of an army of volunteers for the Medical Dental Civic Action Program of the 1901st Infantry Ready Reserve Brigade of the Philippine Army's Regional Civil Defense Group and the 5th Technical and Administrative Service Brigade of the AFP Central Command. The Municipality of Compostela would host this activity inside their DM Reynes Sports Center.

CPT JOSE MARI GOCHANGCO JAGS (Res) of the 5TAS BDE personally invited me and the Camp Red Bushcraft and Survival Guild to assist his unit for this mission. Camp Red's president, Jhurds Neo, made himself available and, I know, that he will be surrendering precious family time to be on this team. Likewise, father and son, Jonathaniel and Justin Apurado. Christopher Ngosiok take leave from his unit and joined us instead.

On the other hand, Army reservist Locel Navarro is participating in the mission but she is with the 1901IBRR while Rommel Mesias is attached with the contingent from the Ham Radio Cebu of Jet Manuel. Ham Radio Cebu would set up the radio communications network for this activity and, if possible, conduct a short orientation on radio operations.

Meanwhile, Camp Red's presence is anchored on the possibility of conducting survival skills for the masses who would avail of the free medical and other services offered jointly by these two distinguished units – the 5TAS and the 1901IBRR. I have foreseen and evaluated that prepping is more realistic and is in tune with the conditions that have occurred in the localities.

We all meet at 05:00 at the 7RCDG Headquarters in Camp Lapulapu, Cebu City where we were feted to a traditional military breakfast of rice gruel, hard-boiled eggs and roasted corn coffee. I enjoyed it minus the fast counts of one to ten that PNCOs with big sticks usually does to trainees. The trucks are coming and, one by one, volunteers struggle to climb up to the decks where the seats are.

We arrive in Compostela at 06:55 and settled inside the DM Reynes Sports Center. People come in trickles and, by 07:30, a Eucharistic Mass was celebrated by the AFP Central Command's military chaplain. After singing the Philippine National Anthem, an opening address iss given by the Hon. Josephine Abing, representing the mayor of Compostela, Hon. Joel Quiño.

Then the tables get populated by medicines, instruments, tools, papers, pens and people sat behind it while across them are people queuing. Camp Red and Ham Radio Cebu transfer to the stage area and we help each other set up an aerial antenna and a VHF base radio. Communications would be very vital since M35 trucks would be very busy ferrying folks from the hinterlands to the town center and back.

Many volunteers assisted the military reservists and these came from the municipality's own government and their resident doctors, specialists, nurses, pharmacists, health workers, dieticians and other occupations of note. Coming too are medical students from the Cebu Institute of Medicine. The gymnasium is full of people: the young, the sickly, the old and those who serve.

In all, there were 3,207 constituents of Compostela served. Here is the report on the number of people served by each component of the joint Medical Dental Civic Action Program by the 5TAS BDE, RCDG7, the 1901IBRR and a medical team from the Philippine Navy Reserve:

Derma - 66
Dental - 275
Medical - 946
Surgery - 41
oratory - 125
Optical - 433
iatric - 17
Haircut - 205
Matters - 21
Counselling - 35
Confession - 35
Counseling - 101
Massage - 53
Storytelling &
Parlor Games - 75
Feeding - 75
Sugar Testing - 725

Both Camp Red and Ham Radio Cebu sees no need to conduct orientations for the served constituents as their health-related issues are more in priority over trivial matters such as what we offer. We at Camp Red observed that we could never fit in activities such as these but we could adapt well and improvise how we would conduct our lectures in the future in a manner much more comfortable to people and to ourselves.

Document done LibreOffice 4.3 Writer

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