CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 29 June) – Soldiers who were wounded in action in the besieged Marawi City expressed eagerness to return to the front line, officials at the 4th Infantry Division in Camp Evangelista here said Tuesday.
Lt. Col. Jonna Dalida-Dalaguit, chief of the 4ID Medical Corps, said many of the soldiers who sustained minor wounds went back to the field two days after admission at the Army station hospital inside the camp.
Dalaguit added all wounded officers have returned to combat.
But she emphasized that the decision to send the soldiers back to Marawi would depend on their mental state and only after they have undergone stress debriefing.
She said two Marines snipers who were hit in the arms asked to be deployed again after knowing that their wounds were not serious.
Dalaguit explained that non-serious wounds refer to wounds that don’t need surgeries and those that cause wide cuts in the muscles but don’t cause fractures.
She said that as of Tuesday they have received 414 wounded personnel from various service branches of the Armed Forces, but only 20 were considered as major injuries. Of this number, 289 had been debriefed by a team from the Ateneo de Davao University and other volunteers.
“Kung sabay-sabay (If several casualties arrive at the same time), we pre-coordinate with private hospitals and doctors,” Dalaguit said.
She said field doctors in Marawi administer initial treatment to wounded soldiers, adding they have forward support medical teams and ambulances for each battalion.
Dalaguit said those who underwent major surgeries and already recovering were sent to the V. Luna Hospital in Manila to decongest the station hospital.
Col. Adonis Ariel Orio, acting 4ID chief-of-staff, said troop morale has remained high due to “overwhelming support” from civilians.
Orio said even Muslims would cry at the sight of wounded soldiers.
He said many civilians have visited the camp to extend moral support and donations such as foodstuff, clothing as well as sponsor free dinner.
Orio said that a few days ago a girl celebrated her birthday at the hospital with the wounded soldiers.
“We don’t tell donors what we lack. It’s up to them what to donate,” he said.
“Sometimes we could no longer serve the food here [for the patients] because there are so many donations,” Dalaguit said.
She said the private hospitals where some of the patients were brought for major surgeries did not collect payment for their services.
“They’re the ones who said ‘thank you for offering your lives,’” she added. (H. Marcos C. Mordeno / MindaNews)