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Army ops vs. NPA continue, amid disaster response

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• GILBERT P. BAYORAN

Two days after the phreatic eruption of Mt. Kanlaon in Negros Island, the 302nd and 303rd Infantry Brigades have maintained high alert status, with the deployment of 47 Disaster Response Task Units (DRTUs), several military vehicles, and hundreds of Disaster Response Operations (DRO) equipment.

Despite their involvement in disaster response operations, Brig. Gen. Orlando Edralin, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, yesterday said that they are not lowering their guard, as he entertained the possibility that New People’s Army remnants may take advantage of the situation by hitting Army soldiers actively involved in helping Negrenses affected by the natural calamities.

“That is why we made our presence felt. All boots are on the ground,” Edralin said, as he further stressed that NPA remnants are trying their best effort to recover lost territories.

Army spokesman Lt. Col. J Jay Javines said that the Humanitarian and Disaster Response (HADR) assets of the 3ID, consisting of 464 personnel with 42 military transport vehicles, are equipped and prepared to address potential disasters that may arise from the recent volcanic activity of Mt. Kanlaon.

Aside from the active Army personnel, Javines added that Reserve units in Negros Island were also shifted to a state of heightened alert.

On the other hand, the 42 mobility assets, comprising military trucks and other vehicles, are now strategically stationed to facilitate the fast deployment and efficient movement of HADR personnel, DRO equipment, and logistical supplies, he added.

This ensures an immediate response and vital support and assistance chains in the event of an eruption and other related emergencies, Javines said.

He added that community awareness programs are also being conducted in partnership and collaboration with LGUs and concerned government agencies to educate and inform the residents about evacuation procedures, emergency contacts, and safety measures.

In a statement, Maj. Gen. Marion Sison, 3ID commander, underscored the significance of preparedness and quick response.

“By activating and mobilizing these HADR units and assets, we intend to ensure that we can act swiftly and efficiently in any situation that may arise,” Sison added.*

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