By: LIEUTENANT COLONEL EDGARD A AREVALO PN(M)
Director, Naval Public Affairs Office
Monday, 18 October 2010
The Philippine Navy’s Disaster Response and Rescue Teams (DRRT) have been dispatched to areas in Cagayan and Ilocos regions this afternoon, 18 October 2010 as the alert level for “Juan” was raised to number 4. The rescue teams from the Naval Forces Northern Luzon (NFNL) and Philippine Fleet will undertake rescue and relief operations and assist LGUs in that part directly to be hit by “Juan”.
One team each were dispatched to the following areas: Sta Ana, Cagayan; Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte; Laoag City, Ilocos Norte; Vigan, Ilocos Sur; and Candon City, Ilocos Sur. These teams are composed of an aggregate total of five officers and 44 enlisted personnel. They are equipped with rubber boats with OBM and trailer trucks loaded with assorted life-saving paraphernalia. These include life vests, life rings, submersible pumps, portable generators, medical kits, and cutting tools. Meanwhile, four reserve teams are prepositioned in San Fernando, City, La Union along with two teams of Marines as force protection.
Navy rescue teams have also been dispatched to Wallace, Poro Pt, La Union; Naguilian, La Union; and Bonuan, La Union. Augmenting these teams are 80 naval reservists.
At 9 AM today, a 17-man team based at the Vigan Capitol proceeded to the NFA warehouse in Vigan to haul 50 sacks of rice. The goods will be transported to the Capitol for distribution to residents who will be affected by “Juan”. Said team has been dispatched to Laoag and will be replaced by another team from the NFNL Command based in La Union.
Two more rescue teams are on a standby at the Philippine Fleet Headquarters in Sangley Pt, Cavite City for deployment to any designated area upon signal from National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). The Command is also organizing more teams as ready reserve and will be deployed as the need arises. Also on standby are two teams (with four officers and 24 enlisted personnel) based at the Naval Education and Training Command, Sn Antonio, Zambales.
Gaining lessons from last year’s experience with “Ondoy”, the Philippine Navy has upped the level of its preparedness in terms of training, new and better equipment, and coordination with local agencies. “I call on Filipinos to cooperate with the Navy and authorities in observing precautions,” said Rear Admiral Danilo M Cortez, Flag Officer In Command, Philippine Navy. He added that heeding this call would not only keep Filipinos out of harms’ way but would also lessen the damage to properties and help local officials in responding during emergency situations.