Two soldiers who each lost both legs during the five-month long fight to liberate Marawi City were among the 17 soldier amputees who received their state-of-the-art prostheses last Friday, Mar. 29, 2019.
The prostheses were procured from Ottobock Philippines through funds provided by the Office of the President. The prostheses come with a 6-year warranty to ensure that the recipients will be given adequate assistance in cases when their artificial limbs need repair.
Technical Sergeant Michael M. Dela Vega, 41, and Sergeant Renato Q. Eucogco, 32, of the 51st Infantry Battalion (51IB) of the 1st Infantry Division (1ID) had their legs amputated when a nearby improvised explosive device went off while they were on a mission in Marawi in August 2017.
Dela Vega, who has been serving in the Army for 23 years now, was assigned at the 51IB since 2007. He had been in various operations against lawless elments and against members of the Maute Group in 2016. On the other hand, Eucogco entered the military service in 2010. Serving for the 51IB was his first assignement and he has been working with Dela Vega eversince.
The two were among the first responders when the crisis in Marawi broke out. They have been in and out of the battlefield fighting hard to liberate the city until the time of the incident.
With their new set of artificial limbs, the two soldiers shared that they can now walk again. Prior to the awarding of the prostheses, they have undergone a series of physical therapy and rehabilitation program to ensure they will be able to use their prostheses well.
After receiving their prosthesis, Dela Vega expressed his gratitude to the government and to the Philippine Army. “Nagpapasalamat kami sa full support nila dahil nakakuha kami ng ganito kaganda na prostheses. Nakakatayo na ako ng walang hawakan,” he said.
The 15 other recipients sustained their injuries in operations against the Communist NPA Terrorists, the Abu Sayyaf Group, and other lawless elements. Among the areas where they fought are in Basilan, Bukidnon, Isabela, Jolo Sulu, Kalinga, Maguindanao, and Surigao del Norte.
Some of the recipients are set to retire while others will remain in active duty to take on new tasks fit for their current capabilities. Philippine Army