MANILA – The South Korean government on Friday turned over to the Department of National Defense (DND) around 50,000 protective face masks for the use of Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea (PEFTOK) veterans and their families.
The turnover ceremony took place at the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
DND Undersecretary for civil, veterans, and reservist affairs Reynaldo B. Mapagu and PVAO administrator Ernesto G. Carolina led the officials who received the donation from South Korean Ambassador Han Dong-Man.
The face masks were donated by Seoul’s Ministry of National Defense and the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs.
The masks were turned over to the representatives of the PEFTOK veterans, led by Cpl. Bartolome Catolos (Ret) and lawyer Walter Young.
Han recognized the contribution of the PEFTOK veterans to the “peace, freedom and democracy” that South Korea enjoys today, stating that the donation is a gesture of their appreciation to the Filipino veterans.
Mapagu noted that as the Filipinos fought in the Korean War 70 years ago, today the nation is waging another battle against an “invisible enemy,” which is the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
He thanked the South Korean government for the donation, which will help ensure the welfare of the PEFTOK veterans and their families.
“On behalf of the Secretary of National Defense (Delfin Lorenzana) as well as the PEFTOK association board members, I would like to extend my sincerest thanks to the Republic of Korea represented by Ambassador Han and Lt. Col. Bae Jung Hoon (Korean Defense Attaché to the Philippines) for helping our PEFTOK veterans at this time of the pandemic,” Mapagu said.
Meanwhile, Carolina also echoed the long-standing relations between the Philippines and Korea that allow the two nations to assist one another in times of need.
The donation is aimed at ensuring the safety and well-being of the PEFTOK veterans and their families amid the Covid-19 pandemic. (IA/PNA)