DONATION. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (center) and AFP chief, Gen. Cirilito Sobejana (2nd from left) take a look at the medical items and supplies donation from the Australian government in a ceremony in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City on Thursday (May 27, 2021). Also in the photo are Australian Ambassador to Manila Steven Robinson (2nd from right) and Defense Attaché, Col. Paul Joseph Barta (right). (Photo courtesy of AFP Public Affairs Office)

MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)'s capabilities to respond to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic got a much-needed boost following the donation of more medical equipment and supplies worth PHP68 million by the Australian government on Thursday.

“In the midst of a complex and volatile security environment, Australia has continuously extended its support in the endeavors and advocacies of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and of course, our national government. In particular, Australia has been a dependable partner in confronting the prevailing health crisis,” AFP chief-of-staff, Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said in a statement Friday.

Sobejana and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana accepted the donation from Australian Ambassador to Manila Steven Robinson and Defense Attaché, Col. Paul Joseph Barta in a ceremony in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

These additional medical supplies and equipment will be used by the AFP Health Service Command (AFPHSC) to continuously address the challenges posed by the pandemic.

The Australian government’s initial donation of hospital and personal protective equipment was received last June 11 at the Victoriano Luna Medical Center in Quezon City.

Sobejana said the Australian donation came at the right time when there is an opportune need for improved medical resources to ensure the safety and well-being of AFP personnel.

“The AFP has undoubtedly stood strong and resilient in the midst of this pandemic, yet we also recognize the need for better and accessible medical equipment to vigorously ensure the welfare of our personnel. The donation of PHP68 million worth of medical supplies and equipment to our health and service command will surely be of great benefit to our soldiers and their dependents,” he added.

The AFP chief also assured the donors that their contributions will be maintained and maximized accordingly.

He also thanked the Australian government and guaranteed the persistence of a steadfast partnership.

“The Armed Forces of the Philippines will continuously work alongside our Australian counterparts to promote our shared interests and aspirations of our two nations and to further strengthen our decades-long mutually beneficial partnership,” Sobejana said. (PNA)