Provincial Gov’t, Army Defend Preparations for Heroes’ Welcome Rites

Negros Occidental Provincial Government and Philippine Army officials defended the preparations made during Friday’s “Heroes’ Welcome” event for members of the 31st Division Reconnaissance Company (31DRC) who recently returned from Marawi.

This came following comments through the social media criticizing the serving of canned sardines for the boodle fight after the ceremonies.

In a radio interview, 303rd Infantry Brigade (303IB) commander, Colonel Eliezer Losañes, said it is the basic component of a boodle fight for the Army to provide canned sardines to their soldiers along with “pancit.”

Losañes said there are also other food items that have been served to the soldiers, and that the event was merely ceremonial.

He further added they have also provided pack lunches to the soldiers and their families before letting them go home to enjoy their rest and recreation period.

For her part, Provincial Planning and Development Office (PPDO) Coordinator Dr. Ma. Lina Sanogal said, they were not able to process the required budget due to the Halloween holiday period and the short amount of time to prepare for the event.

Sanogal said they loaned from the Mambukal Resort’s catering service in order to prepare for the food items for the soldiers and their families.

She also pointed out that the military officials from the 31DRC even expressed gratitude to the provincial government which also provided them additional grocery items for their families and P3,000 cash for the kins of the soldiers who lost their lives in the Marawi conflict.

Sanogal said, “the true purpose of the event was ruined just because of the food that was served for the soldiers.”

Despite the backlash, some of the soldiers’ families and friends spoke out in social media and defended both the Philippine Army and the provincial government, stating they are very glad they returned unharmed, and that there was no problem with the served lunch.* (NDB)