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Soldiers dig for bodies from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

HIS day starts from where he finished.
For almost two weeks now, 2nd Lt. Ronel Gebura of Army’s 32nd Division Reconnaissance Company has been digging in Barangay Solonggon, La Libertad, Negros Oriental to look for earthquake survivors.
Despite the stench of bodies and danger of another landslide, Gebura and the 50-manned troop will not stop searching until told to do so.
“I can feel the sentiment’s of the victims’ families. It has become my motivation,” he said.
As of yesterday, only four people were found while 38 others were feared buried alive in the area. The neighborhood was layered with soil and boulders after a part of the hill collapsed due to an earthquake with a 6.9 intensity hit last Feb. 6.
Intermittent rain, aftershocks and heavy equipment that conk out every so often plague their operation in retrieving buried people, alive or dead.
Some of his troop mates were also injured after tripping over galvanized iron sheets in a pile of debris.
The soldiers start their day at 6 a.m. digging using picks and shovels and end it at 6 p.m., and taking only lunch breaks.
They also help in facilitating the turnover of relief goods to evacuees.
Sun.Star Cebu found Gebura relaxing on a hammock strapped to a shack that serves as the troop’s sleeping quarters.
He had just finished his lunch of fish stew and kamote leaves.
It was his decision to be part of the Army just like his father.
“There’s nothing more fulfilling than in helping people and serving your country,” he said.
Gebura, a native of Iloilo, said he sympathized with the victims, having gone through a similar experience.
A fierce storm washed away their house and he had his then-pregnant wife with him, he said.
Because of the high risks involved in his job, Gebura said, his wife regularly reminds him to stay out of harm’s way.
They have two children, aged six and three.
He would have wanted to bring a picture of his family but anticipated that it could get wet in the rain.
After the interview, Gebura went back to his work, reminding himself of the cries of the victims’ kin and his family.
Friday, February 17, 2012


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