Army mobilizes forces for disaster response


    FORT BONIFACIO, Metro Manila– In light of the tropical depression Usman that hit primarily Eastern Visayas and Bicol region, the Philippine Army since Sunday, December 30, 2018 have mobilized its forces to help and support the Local Government Units (LGUs) and other concerned agencies in the conduct of disaster response and rescue operations.
    The 9th Infantry Division under Maj. Gen. Fernando T. Trinidad which has jurisdiction over Bicol region took the initiative to deploy its forces in coordination with the local DRRMC and LGUs to perform humanitarian assistance and disaster response aim at mitigating the effects and ensure safety of the affected populace.
    Notably, Bicol region comprised of the provinces of Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon, Catanduanes and Masbate suffered the wrath of the tropical depression. Massive landslides and flooding occurred in many areas caused by heavy rain that affected more than 341,000 individuals.
    The 9ID utilized its forces in conjunction and in coordination with the Regional office of Civil Defense and various LGUs. In Matnog, Sorsogon, more than 1,600 residents or 340 families were evacuated from the danger areas by the 31st Infantry (Charge) Battalion in coordination with the Philippine National Police and the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO).
    Meanwhile, personnel of the 83rd Infantry (Achiever) Battalion along with other agencies participated in the road clearing at Barangay Sibaguan and Patitinan in the municipality of Sangay, Camarines Sur. Said areas were badly hit by massive landslides destroying roads and bridges and residential houses.
    The soldiers of 525th Engineer Combat Battalion which was sent by Headquarters, Philippine Army (HPA) to provide HADR support to 9ID assisted the residents trapped in the floods in Barangay Potot in Libmanan, Camarines Sur. More than 14 families were evacuated after flash flood washed out their houses.
    While in Eastern Visayas, the 8th Infantry (Storm Trooper) Division under Maj. Gen Raul M. Farnacio executed similar effort utilizing its forces to help the local populace.
    The 8ID covers the provinces of Biliran, Leyte, Eastern, Western and Northern Samar. The Division thru its ground units deployed military trucks, rubber boats and other rescue assets to assist the affected residents.
    Based on reports from ground units, Eastern Samar has the most number of affected families with a total of 4,562 and 16,748 affected individual who were rescued and brought to designated evacuation areas.
    The Commanding General, Philippine Army, Lt. Gen. Macairog S. Alberto has ordered all subordinate units to be prepared and render all possible assistance to affected residents as well as other concerned government agencies.
    As part of his guidance, the Command must continue to improve its capability in terms of Disaster Response and Relief Operations due to unpredictability and possible effects of natural disasters and calamities.
    The country, due to its geographical location, climate and topography is vulnerable and consistently at risk from severe natural hazards including typhoons, floods, landslides, and drought.
    On the other hand, he also reminded the troops to be cautious while performing humanitarian operations as the Communist Terrorist Groups may take advantage of the situation and launch atrocities.#

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