S. Korea to deploy troops for rehab
Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) - December 18, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - South Korea is deploying over 500 soldiers to the Philippines to assist in the rehabilitation of typhoon-ravaged areas in the Visayas.

It will be the first time that South Korea is deploying a large contingent overseas for purely disaster reconstruction purposes, according to South Korean Ambassador Hyuk Lee. Korea has peacekeeping forces abroad. The Korean troops will be based in Cebu for about a year,  Lee said.

Maj. Gen. John Bonafos, commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Central Command, yesterday said 540 Korean troops are slated to be in Eastern Visayas on Dec. 27 to help in the reconstruction efforts of the government.

He said the Korean soldiers are mostly military engineers and would be spending New Year in the country.

He also said the affected areas where South Korean forces can best help are now being identified.

“They would be repairing existing but damaged structures that could still be rebuilt. The others would help in building new ones,” Bonafos said.

Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon will also visit Tacloban City and meet President Aquino in Malacañang this weekend.

“2013 was another year of extreme weather, as we saw most recently with Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda). On Thursday, I will depart for Manila and Tacloban for a firsthand assessment of the aftermath,” Ban said Monday as he announced the visit.

Ban is set to arrive in Manila on Friday and will go to Tacloban on Saturday. The UN leader will leave the Philippines on Sunday, UN spokeswoman Eri Kaneko said. – With Delon Porcalla

ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES CENTRAL COMMAND EASTERN VISAYAS ERI KANEKO JOHN BONAFOS MANILA AND TACLOBAN NEW YEAR ON THURSDAY PRESIDENT AQUINO SOUTH KOREA SOUTH KOREAN SOUTH KOREAN AMBASSADOR HYUK LEE
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