MANILA -- While it has expressed readiness to respond in case of a strong earthquake in Metro Manila, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) announced that it is constantly participating in joint and combined exercises related to disasters in a bid to identify civilian groups who can act as the military's force multipliers.
This was bared Wednesday by Col. Noel Detoyato, AFP public affairs office chief, when asked what units the military can immediately deploy should a strong tremor hits the metropolis.
"All units inside the Metro will also be affected in case of the 'Big One,' however, (the) AFP has a contingency plan to commit as first responders troops who are inside camps to include the engineering battalion that is stationed in Libis (Quezon City) who has collapsed structures rescue capability," he said in a message to the Philippine News Agency.
The military unit Detoyato is referring to is the 525th Engineering Combat Battalion which is equipped with a variety of bulldozers, backhoes and other heavy construction equipment.
The AFP official, however, admitted that this battalion is not enough and this is the reason why the military is keen on identifying civilian groups that can augment their numbers in case of massive calamities.
"Even then, this will not be enough that is why we are regularly participating in joint and combined exercises to identify civilian groups who can be our force multipliers when widespread calamity occurs," Detoyato stressed. (PNA)