ARMY DEPLOYS MORE TROOPS TO ‘USMAN’-BATTERED BICOL
Aerial photo showing intense flooding in Camarines Sur after Tropical Depression (TD) 'Usman' brought about heavy rains during its landfall last December 29, 2018. (Rey Baniquet/Presidential Photo)
MANILA -- The Philippine Army (PA) has deployed additional troops to support search, rescue and retrieval (SRR) operations in the Bicol region, which was heavily affected by landslides and floods due to Tropical Depression Usman.
In a statement Saturday, Army spokesperson Lt. Col. Louie Villanueva said Army chief, Lt. Gen. Macairog S. Alberto, ordered the deployment of four SRR teams from the 525th Engineer Combat Battalion of the 51st Engineer Brigade to augment the 9th Infantry Division in its humanitarian assistance and disaster response effort.
Over the week, heavy flooding and massive landslides were reported in Bicol, particularly in the provinces of Albay and Camarines Sur, which already claimed the lives of more than 50 people.
Rescue teams from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Philippine National Police, and Bureau of Fire Protection are exerting all efforts to locate and provide the necessary assistance to the people, especially those who have been isolated by floods and landslides.
Aside from the SRR teams, the PA also facilitated the transport of various rescue equipment, medical supplies, carpentry tools, cadaver bags, folding beds, shovels and portable generators to complement the disaster response effort of local government units and other concerned government agencies in the area.
On Friday, President Rodrigo Duterte, along with other government and top military officials, visited some heavily affected areas to personally oversee and assess the situation.
The provinces of Albay, Camarines Sur, and Sorsogon were placed under state of calamity last Dec. 30 due to heavy rains.
"Moreover, as part of its vision to become relevant and responsive, the Philippine Army continuously improve its organizational capability in support of the government’s effort in providing the necessary services to our people," Villanueva said. (PNA)