Philippine Military Academy cadets are taking up contributions among themselves for graduating classmate Alfonso Aviles, who was seriously injured when he tried to prevent a jeepney robbery in Quezon City on August 25.
“Pass the Hat is an existing tradition in the Philippine Military Academy wherein cadets voluntarily contribute money for a purpose, normally to help fellows in need,” said AFP spokesman Col. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos.
Burgos said PMA cadets began contributing last Friday but could not immediately say how much has been raised so far.
The spokesperson added that the money being collected by the cadets for Aviles is on top of the aid promised by the PMA leadership as Maj. Gen. Alfredo Peralta paid Aviles a visit at the AFP Medical Center's Intensive Care Unit a day after the incident.
“The PMA community is also praying fervently for the speedy recovery of Aviles who is now on the [eighth] day [of recovery] after a successful operation last week. They are closely facilitating Aviles’ medical needs while providing continuous moral support to his family,” said Burgos.
Aviles was among several PMA cadets who arrived in Metro Manila on August 23 to serve as proctors in the PMA entrance examination on August 26.
The incident occurred on August 25, when Aviles was on a jeepney on his way back to his billeting area after visiting his parents in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan.
During the ride, a robber took out a gun and declared a hold-up. The cadet grabbed the gun while the robber was divesting another passenger of her belongings, but was shot in the neck.
An operation at the military hospital successfuly removed the bullet, which had lodged in Aviles' head. He remains comatose, but the military said that his condition has been progressing.
Burgos said Aviles is still under “close monitoring” and is expected to remain at the ICU for at least one more week.
“He demonstrated improvements as manifested by his eye responses as well as slight movements of both arms and legs. Vital signs such as blood pressure and temperature have consistently been stable,” said Burgos.
As a member of the military, Aviles’ hospitalization is free. However, his family had to shoulder the fees for laboratory tests done outside the military hospital, though the expense is reimbursable.
Burgos said AFP chief Gen. Jessie Dellosa lauded Aviles for his deed in trying to prevent the robbery.
“Cadet Aviles is just one of the many dedicated and committed soldiers of the AFP who risk their lives every day so that others may live in a peaceful and secure environment,” said Dellosa. — BM