By Priam Nepomuceno

QUICK ASSISTANCE. Philippine Army (PA) commander Lt. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. condoles with a family member of a soldier who was among the victims of a shooting incident, during his visit to the 4th Infantry Division’s headquarters in Camp Evangelista, Cagayan de Oro City on Feb. 13, 2023. The PA on Wednesday (Feb. 15, 2023) said the families of the victims would receive immediate financial, burial, and psycho-social assistance. (Photo courtesy of the Philippine Army)

MANILA – The Philippine Army (PA) said Wednesday it would immediately release assistance to the families of the soldiers killed in the recent shooting incident at the 4th Infantry Division (4ID) headquarters in Camp Evangelista, Cagayan de Oro City.

“The families of the victims will receive immediate financial, burial, and psycho-social assistance from the PA to help them overcome this trying time, ” Army spokesperson Col. Xerxes Trinidad said in a statement.

Earlier, PA chief Lt. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. assured that assistance would be provided to the families of the troops killed in the incident, during his visit to the 4ID headquarters on Monday.

“The PA condoles with the bereaved families of victims of this tragic incident. We ensure that their families will be properly taken care of. We will assist them in the processing of their legal claims and benefits,” he added.

Brawner also visited a wounded soldier who is now in stable condition and recuperating at the Camp Evangelista Station Hospital.

“The Army leadership has launched its internal investigation to identify factors that triggered the incident. The probe is also geared at identifying possible gaps in the recruitment and training process with the end goal of preventing similar incidents in the future,” Trinidad said.

On Feb. 11, a soldier opened fire on four of his fellow troops who were sleeping in their room at the 4ID Service Support Battalion.

The incident resulted in the death of five soldiers, including the perpetrator.

Caring for troops’ mental health

Meanwhile, 157 enlisted personnel from different line units and separate batteries of the Army Artillery Regiment attended the Troops Information and Education (TI&E) on mental health awareness, held at its headquarters in Fort Magsaysay, Palayan City, Nueva Ecija on Feb. 13.

“The said TI&E, organized by the regiment’s Office of the Regiment Sergeant Major, aims to look after the mental health and physical well-being of the troops,” Trinidad said.

The seminar also aimed to raise social awareness of mental health issues through psychosocial education to combat the stigma of mental health and prevent the development of mental health conditions, he added. (PNA)