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Army extends humanitarian assistance to typhoon-affected communities

BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN

Coast Guard personnel rescuing stranded individuals in Ilog town.*PCG photo

Army soldiers and reservists in Negros Island have been mobilized to help Negros Island local government units devastated by super typhoon Odette, as police regional offices not affected by the typhoon were ordered yesterday by PNP chief Dionardo Carlos to mobilize their assets and equipment to extend assistance to affected areas upon request.

Negros Army reservists, who are assigned at the 605th Community Defense Center and 1st Negros Occidental Ready Reserve Battalion, under the operational control of the 303rd Infantry Brigade, are now conducting Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response in typhoon affected areas, Brig. Gen. Inocencio Pasaporte, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, said.

Soldiers of the 79th and 62nd Infantry Battalion were also mobilized for similar HADR operations, including the 15th, 11th and 94th Infantry Battalions under the supervision of 302nd Infantry Brigade in Negros Oriental.

A total of 117 Negros Army Reservists were deployed to augment personnel of the different Army units and PNP in conducting HADR operations and relief distributions in the areas of Negros Island affected by the typhoon.

PNP chief Carlos, accompanied by other top police officials, also conducted yesterday an aerial survey of southern Negros, which was badly hit by the typhoon, before a briefing was held at Camp Alfredo Montelibano Sr. in Bacolod City.

PBrig. Gen. Ronaldo Olay, chief of the PNP Directorate for Logistics, said that the PNP is now facilitating the procurement of communication equipment especially satellite phones which are critical during calamities when the cellular phone signals are down.

Army soldiers joined the Philippine Coast Guard, Bureau of Fire and Protection, PNP, Philippine Navy and other rescue teams, in clearing roads from obstructions such as fallen trees, lamp posts and power lines to allow unimpeded passage of emergency response vehicles, relief supplies and public transport.

Pasaporte said that transportation assets were also provided for the hauling and delivery of relief goods from various stakeholders to evacuation areas and communities.

The New People’s Army Apolinario Gatmaitan Command yesterday issued a statement enjoining members of its various guerilla fronts to focus all efforts in helping the people affected by the typhoon, by mobilizing the people in repairing destroyed and damaged homes and farms.

But rebel spokesman Ka Juanito Magbanua ordered NPA units to be on a defensive mode against possible attacks from government forces.

In Moises Padilla and La Castellana towns, Mayors Ella Celestina Garcia-Yulo and Alme Rhummyla Mangilimutan led the evacuation and relief operations in their respective LGUs.*

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