AFP Bayanihan effectively works with other countries, men on the ground recount indelible experiences
Incident Command Post, Region 6 – International aid for typhoon-victims kept on coming here in Western Visayas with the Canadian Forces as the first to arrive last Thursday, November 14, 2013 at the Iloilo International Airport.
Reported earlier that Canadian Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) are here to conduct medical and engineering mission in the heavily devastated areas, placed Roxas City in Capiz as their Area Command Post for disaster assistance response operations.
Canadian DART personnel with their mission equipment and supplies, left Iloilo International Airport last Saturday bound for Roxas City in Capiz using military trucks of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Yesterday, Engineers of Canadian Forces conducted repairs assessment in Pontevedra, Capiz. They were assisted by personnel of Army’s 552ndEngineering Construction Battalion, 31 Division Reconnaissance Company of 3rd Infantry Division, Philippine Army, and personnel of Headquarters, 3ID in digging latrines and road clearing on route from Roxas City to Pontevedra.
Canadian Mobile Medical Team (MMT) also conducted medical mission in an evacuation center at Pontevedra, Capiz. Medical team from the 3rd Infantry Division also augmented the Canadian MMT. The team also assessed the health situation in Pilar Capiz for a medical mission.
Major Bob Mead, DART Defence and Security Company and Lieutenant Commander Brad Eason, DART Medical Officer cited their excellent working collaboration on the ground with the members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Additional personnel, medical supplies and a huge generator set to be placed at the evacuation center were transported yesterday from Iloilo International Airport to Roxas City utilizing the AFP’s military trucks.
Meanwhile, Colonel Supardi and Major Situros of the Indonesian Military Defense Attaché arrived at Roxas City airport yesterday onboard Indonesian C-130 aircraft. The Indonesia extended 36 tons of relief goods which were transported by C-130 in four (4) sorties.
Relief items also kept on coming in Roxas City airport. Yesterday, C-130 of the Philippine Air Force delivered relief goods in two (2) sorties with 37 tons of relief goods. Japan has delivered 9 tons of relief items via their C-130 aircraft while Indonesia added another 17 tons of relief items. The AFP likewise provided support personnel and manpower in unloading and loading of relief goods using military trucks and immediately delivered to typhoon-victims.
Over the weekend, about 46,500 relief packs were transported by the AFP which can feed the same number of families for 2-3 days. Yesterday alone, 28,555 relief packs for same number of families were delivered using the Army trucks, Air Force helicopters, and Navy vessels across the region.
Proper management of personnel has been observed by the different Commanders on the ground in order to minimize stress among its personnel who have been working since Day 1 of Disaster Response Operations.
The Army developed a rotational scheme of truck drivers and support personnel, same with the Air Force where pilots take turns regularly, while the Navy being pre-positioned near the Island barangays picking-up relief goods strategically hauled at the mainland, has a similar scheme.
Men recount their respective experiences
The Army way
Meantime, the Army drivers narrated their experiences, seeing people how thankful they are when they see the Army trucks coming to their place. Corporal Elmer Solis, who have been driving the M35 truck since day 1, also joined in relief distribution in Passi and Calinog, Iloilo. One of the recipients, an old lady, jumped into extraordinary joy when she saw some clothing inside the pack that she received. Asked why she was so happy, she told Solis that “all of my clothes were gone after the typhoon, thank you so much, you’re such a blessing.” Solis told her that the goods did not come from him, that he just drove the truck going to their place. “It doesn’t matter, you’re doing such an enormous service to the people like us,” replied by the old lady. It somehow relieved the exhaustion that Solis felt due to continuous relief operations, seeing people so happy and thankful for the efforts of the Army.
The Navy way
Petty Officer 1 Samuel Arnaldo, Boat Captain of DF 352 of the Philippine Navy, together with other sailors were the first responders in Northern Panay, particularly in Estancia, Iloilo. Arnaldo recounted the situation of the people who were so hungry, rushed towards them knowing that they have brought relief goods for these people.
Though Arnaldo’s family in Roxas City was also affected by the super typhoon, he continued to perform his duty after he gathered that there are more people in the Island barangays who really need food, water and clothing. The Islands of Manipolon, Togigunot, Sicogon and Bayas were reached by these gallant sailors who gave hope to the people that they were not forgotten.
The Air Force way
Ltc Bobby Calub, Commander of the Tactical Operations Group-6 (TOG-6) who supervises the aerial relief operations said “I have noticed that our pilots are still performing aerial sorties for relief distribution even beyond the meal time. I personally see the situation of the people especially in the hinterland and Island barangays where they don’t have food to eat, that’s why we are maximizing the flying time in order to deliver enough food for them.
Major General Aurelio Baladad, Commander of 3ID and the most senior AFP officer in Western Visayas said, “We can see the excellent result of Bayanihan not only among us Filipinos, but also in working together with our counterparts from other countries. The AFP will do whatever it takes to respond to the needs of our people. We enjoin other stakeholders to work with us so that we can save more lives and recover as soon as possible.”
LAPU-LAPU CITY — A lady pediatrician, one of the Tacloban evacuees who boarded BRP Bacolod City (LC550) going to Cebu, emerged as another Yolanda hero when she saved a two-month old baby from possible death after the latter suffered from convulsion due to acute pneumonia past midnight while the ship is underway Nov. 18, 2013.
Dra. Sherryl Ann Roque, who responded to the call of the commanding officer of LC550 for a medical attention, gave immediate treatment to the child and inserted dextrose that she got from the stocks of the ship.
“Lumapit sakin yung nanay ng bata at nanghingi ng tulong. So, nananawagan ako kung mayroong doktor na nakasakay sa barko, nagvolunteer naman si Dra. Roque at binigyan niya ng agarang atensyong medical yung bata (The mother of the child approached and asked us for help. So, I immediately asked if there’s a doctor aboard, Dra. Roque volunteered and she gave an immediate medical attention to the child),” Cdr Jonathan V Zata PN, CO, LC550 recounted what happened.
Zata added that Dra. Roque requested that the child be immediately brought to the hospital.
After making a call to Naval Forces Central (Navforcen) chief, Commodore Reynaldo Yoma, a Navy vessel, PG385, was dispatched and the child was transported to a hospital in Cebu.
Dra. Roque, who is a resident pediatrician of Bethany Hospital based in Tacloban City, in a press statement said that she was thankful she was able to save the baby in her own capacity.
“Nagkaroon siya ng convulsion dala ng pneumonia nya. Yung remedy ko na lang is mabigyan siya ng paracetamol at dextrose na available sa barko (She was experiencing convulsion because of her pneumonia. My remedy is to give her paracetamol and dextrose which were available on board the Navy vessel),” Dra. Roque said.
The child was rushed to a hospital in Cebu and was reported to be in a stable condition as of this time.
Dra. Roque together with her husband, mother and grandmother flown in to Manila today to temporarily stay there. (LCDR GREGORY V FABIC PN, Director, Naval Public Affairs Office)
LAPU-LAPU CITY— Emotions fill up the atmosphere in Cebu when a Philippine Navy landing ship loaded with relief delivery trucks and a total of 1,366 passengers from Tacloban arrive 11 am today at Commo Veloso Pier in Naval Base Rafael Ramos, Mactan.
BRP Bacolod City (LC550), one of the Navy’s vessels deployed for rescue, relief and rehabilitation efforts after the devastation of Typhoon Yolanda, is welcomed by Naval Forces Central Deputy Commander, Capt. Ingemar S Pernes PN(GSC) and Lapu-lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza.
“I can hardly look at the tragic effect of Typhoon Yolanda in Tacloban and other parts of Leyte but I felt happy and proud to be part of the Navy’s team that is committed to support the victims in the modest way we can,” said Cdr Jonathan V Zata PN(GSC), LC550 commanding officer.
Upon disembarkation from the ship, the evacuees were welcomed by various local government and private agencies and organizations giving free services to uplift their morale and bringing back their condition to normal.
GMA Kapuso Foundation, ABS-CBN Cebu and Gardenia Bakeries Phils, Inc. provided hot meals, bread and bottled water to the evacuees with the assistance from DSWD, Lapu-Lapu Sangguniang Kabataan, Tau Gamma Fraternity and Barangay Gun-ob.
Free medical services and medicines were rendered to the evacuees through the combined efforts of Red Cross, Lapu-Lapu Hospital, City Health Office and Barangay Basak. While, free calling services were provided by Globe, Smart and Sun telecommunication companies. Even the Philippine Navy provided free call and internet services to the evacuees.
More than 5000 evacuees and rescue and relief personnel have been transported by the Philippine Navy to and from Leyte and Samar since the disaster response operations started last week.Meanwhile, LC550 has been continuously providing transport services since the devastation of the typhoon. (LCDR GREGORY GERALD V FABIC PN, Director, Naval Public Affairs Office)
LAPU-LAPU CITY— A week after the devastation of Typhoon Yolanda, about 200 families in three barangays of Kinatarkan (Guintacan) Island in Sta. Fe town, Cebu finally received relief goods delivered through a helicopter of the British Navy Ship, HMS Daring on Nov. 18, 2013.
The British ship’s crew composed of the executive officer, medical team, engineers and communication team were joined by the representative of the Save the Children Foundation and the liaison officer of the Philippine Navy multinational coordinating council, Cdr Oscar Faeldon, during the distribution of relief in the said island.
Aside from giving relief goods consisting of high-energy biscuits, canned goods and shelter kits, the group also provided medical services with medicines to 200 individuals.
They also repaired the barangay hall of Agdan using roofing materials derived from the ravaged facilities of the island.
Kinatarkan or Guintacan Island is among the areas in Northern Cebu directly hit by Typhoon Yolanda.
With no means of communication, the residents of the island used the debris of the disaster and formed the word “HELP” in an open ground hoping that a passing aircraft will notice it.
Luckily, a chopper of the British Navy ship that flew by the island sighted the call for help of the residents.
After verification, the British Navy ship sought permission from the Philippine Navy for the conduct of relief operations in the said island. (LCDR GREGORY GERALD V FABIC PN, Director, Naval Public Affairs Office)
CAMP GENERAL EMILIO AGUINALDO, Quezon City – Philippine Army Engineers have been busy clearing roads and building shelters in the hardest hit areas of Supertyphoon Yolanda.
Last November 12, Engineering Task Force Yolanda (ETF Yolanda) was mobilized and deployed to Tacloban, Leyte. ETF Yolanda is composed of the 51st Engineering Brigade based in Camp Atienza, Manila and the 53rd Engineering Brigade in Camp Lapu-Lapu, Cebu City. Each brigade is made up of two Engineering Construction Battalions who are specially trained for constructing infrastructure and clearing obstacles.
Their priority missions in Tacloban City are:
- to build shelter for the personnel currently performing Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Operations (HADR)
- to clear roadnets to allow the smooth passage of relief and personnel
- to assist in the installation/operation of a Water Purification System in Tacloban
- to create/repair necessary infrastructure that was destroyed by calamity
The Officer-in-Charge of ETF Yolanda is Colonel Medardo F Clarito of the Army Engineers.
On Day 9 (November 16), ETF Yolanda was instrumental in opening up the road to two-lane traffic and providing high-speed road access to the Municipality of Tanauan in Southern Leyte from Tacloban. Working nonstop for four days, our Engineers cleared debris and fallen trees blocking the road. Armed with chainsaws and heavy equipment like backhoe loaders, they worked tirelessly to open up the road. With their efforts, the town of Tanauan was reached by our military trucks carrying additional aid and relief for the survivors.
Likewise, the 3rd Infantry Division in Panay Island mobilized the 61st Infantry Battalion and the 552nd Engineering Construction Battalion to clear the roadnet that connected Iloilo City to Roxas City last November 9. Both cities were identified as logistics hubs that will house relief goods and will serve as the nerve centers of the Office of the Civil Defense for region 6. The 61st IB armed only with bolos and axes chopped away at the fallen trees that blocked the Calinog-Tapaz road. The Engineers used their heavy equipment to move fallen electrical posts and other debris along Duenas and Passi City in Iloilo entering Capiz province. It took them two days to clear the roads which allowed military trucks to continuously deliver relief items to communities in Capiz.
Opening up the roads between Tanauan and Tacloban as well as the Iloilo-Capiz Roadnet are small victories for our Engineers in the Visayas. But there are still other tasks that they need to accomplish and their sense of urgency motivates them to rise up to the challenge. There are still other roads that need to be cleared, bridges repaired, shelters and water systems put in place. We can count on our Engineers to do what they do best; that is to help rebuild. Once we start to rebuild our communities, then we start to rebuild our broken spirit.
CAMP GENERAL EMILIO AGUINALDO, Quezon City – More military trucks are arriving today in Tacloban to help in ongoing Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HADR) operations and continue ground relief operations in other typhoon-affected areas.
As of this morning, the 2nd Serial Bayanihan Express whichcomprises 140 Army soldiers and 24 military trucks are preparing to depart after re-fueling from Legaspi City towards Tacloban City. These self-sustaining troops composed of security elements, maintenance personnel, and communication personnel with equipment will mass in Tacloban and afterwards will be redeployed to other affected areas in need of further assistance.
The 3rd Serial Bayanihan Express consisting 53 combined Army, Air Force and Navy soldiers with 28 military and civilian trucks/vehicles on the other hand is set to depart Batangas Port to Tacloban City via RORO vessel along with personnel from 1st Special Forces Battalion en route to Tacloban.
Also today, five C-130 flights by the Australian and New Zealand government will be conducted from Mactan Air Port in Cebu to Tacloban, Guian, and Ormoc to transport teams and equipment to augment in ongoing HADR operations in the area.
Meanwhile, troops from the 3rd Infantry Division, Philippine Army together with a group of Canadian Army soldiers arrived at Roxas City, Capiz on board a Ceres bus and five M35 trucks loaded with logistics supplies for relief and rehabilitation operations yesterday. A command post was established thereat to monitor movement of relief operations.
The first batch of the Canadian Army composed of 54 personnel arrived in IloIlo City onboard their C17 to aid ongoing relief operations in the area. They were augmented by another 7 Canadian Army personnel who arrived in Roxas City, Capiz onboard a jet from IloIlo airport.
Currently, the AFP has about 12,000 troops on the ground under the command of Central Command conducting HADR operations in typhoon-affected areas in Visayas. It also has about 3,400 external troops including follow on forces augmenting said troops.
Soldiers are also deployed to assist DSWD in the repacking of relief goods. Aside from troops deployed in DSWD Repacking Centers, the AFP has also established its own Repacking Centers in various headquarters in Metro Manila in coordination with the department: four in the Navy headquarters, one in Villamor Airbase, two in the Army headquarters, and one in the General Headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo.
IN PHOTO: 32 Grade 6 pupils from Apas Elementary School participates Centcom’s flag raising ceremony
Ormoc City, LEYTE- The whole day activity which started at 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 pm last Sunday was participated by doctors and dentists from Ormoc City who rendered Army soldiers from 19th Infantry (Commando) Battalion led by 1LT Rod Vincent F Babera and members of Share-Me-A-Dream, a Bisayan Community Club of Victoria from Australia successfully conducted a medical mission to the poor families of Ormoc City last April 14, 2013 at Claretian Mission Centre, Barangay Milagro, Ormoc City.free services such as operation tuli (circumcision) and dental and medical consultations. There were at least three hundred fifty (350) beneficiaries of the said medical mission who came from different barangays, namely: Liberty, Cabingtan, Gaas, and Lake Danao. It is noted that these barangays are formerly guerilla bases that where influenced by the communist terrorists. Other services provided were transportation and free haircut.
The Commanding Officer of 19IB, Lt Col Joel Alejandro S Nacnac, upon receipt of the invitation for this medical mission was in full support because he believes in serving his countryfolks in whatever form it may be. According to him, “we are grateful for the kind-hearted Filipinos from other countries who extended a helping hand.” He is hopeful that this activity will prove that the government cooperates with the NGOs and the people to maintain the peace and order in the Province of Leyte.
“The Share-Me-A-Dream is responding to the growing needs of medical assistance to the less fortunate people from poorer communities who could not afford appropriate healthcare due to geographical and economical challenges,” according to Ms Maria Theresa Symes, the Club President. It was founded on June 23, 2011 and since then actively helping the less fortunate.###( 1LT Rod Vincent F. Babera, S7, 19IB)