The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) will set up a passport courtesy lane for Negrense soldiers and policemen from Marawi City who will fly to HongKong for a vacation promised by President Rodrigo Duterte.
This was confirmed on Friday afternoon by the Provincial Information Office, following the courtesy visit of Carolina Constantino, officer-in-charge of the Regional Consular Office-Bacolod, to Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. and Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson earlier this week.
A courtesy lane facility means the soldiers and police officers no longer need to set an online appointment in applying for a passport.
The President had earlier announced that those who served during the almost five-month Marawi siege will have an all-expense paid trip to Hong Kong as a reward for getting the job done.
In Negros Occidental, 81 troopers of the 31st Division Reconnaisance Company of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division were the first ones to come home.
The provincial government honored them, along with the six Negrense soldiers who died in battle, in rites held at the Capitol grounds on November 3.
Technical Sergeant Jose Lumayno of Sipalay City, who was among those honored, said he and his fellow troopers are proud to be called liberators of Marawi after almost four months of fighting the Islamic State-linked terrorists.
Lumayno said their unit came from Bohol, where they neutralized the Abu Sayyaf in April, before they were deployed to Marawi in June.
First Lieutenant Richard Paul Gobway, commander of the Army’s 31st Division Reconnaissance Company, said that aside from conducting security clearing operations, their unit rescued four civilians trapped for almost a month in the main battle area, and recovered 11 high powered firearms and two rifle grenades. (PNA)