Acting Director, Naval Public Affairs Office
Sailors and Marines of the Philippine Navy on board a Logistic Support Vessel “BRP Dagupan City” (LC 551), as part of Task Group 10.2 “Amianan Recovery,” led by CAPT NODOLFO V TEJADA PN defied the rough and dangerous sea condition to deliver the much needed relief goods and engineering equipment. The Task Group was activated in the aftermath of Typhoon “Juan” to alleviate the plight of residents who were heavily affected in the province, to help in clearing road networks, and to undertake other engineering assistance.
At dawn of 24 October 2010, the LC 551 was immediately dispatched to Isabela with the following teams and cargo on board: four naval combat engineering teams, a 60-man rescue team, a communications team, medical team, two payloaders, trailers, and a crane used for undertaking engineering and rehabilitation of various facilities.
Ten days after the devastating typhoon left the country’s area of responsibility, bad weather conditions persisted and further aggravated the condition of the affected communities. The rough sea has forced LC 551 to take shelter in Port Irene, Cagayan temporarily, but the Sailors and Marines determination never waned and eventually succeeded in penetrating the waters of Isabela to bring help to the people. As of Friday morning, 05 November 2010, LC 551 is anchored in Aubarede Pt, Divilacan, Isabela. Under normal sea condition, the ship would reach Maconacon in six hours.
The complexity of this kind of mission, once again, underscores the need for the immediate procurement of the Multi-Role Vessel (MRV) as part of the Navy’s modernization and capability upgrade program. This vessel will not only enhance the Navy’s security efforts, but will also boost its capability in performing disaster and calamity related missions.
Aside from a wide spectrum of traditional and non- traditional military operations, the MRV can serve as a Floating Government Humanitarian Center during times of calamities. It can be a platform for medical treatment of calamity victims in isolated areas, accommodate a host of activities of DSWD and NGOs for the affected communities, Springboard for Disaster Response and Rescue Operations (DRRO) teams, and other logistic and engineering supplies and equipment that are needed in response to the humanitarian emergency anywhere in the archipelago. The MRV measures 120 meters and can load up to 7,200 tons of cargo. It can accommodate 100 crew and 500 passengers and travels at a speed of 12 knots.
It can be recalled that when Typhoon “Reming” hit the country in November 2006, the destruction it caused to Bicol’s major road infrastructures blocked rescue teams to immediately reach out to the victims. Only Navy ships on mercy mission were successful in going to the calamity / disaster areas, as the sea becomes the only unhampered maneuver space for large transport of goods and equipment after typhoon. The landslide in Ginsaugon, Leyte in February 2006 also made road networks impassable for huge movement of rescue and relief contingents from the national government. Due to the poor condition in the area, without potable water and electricity, the rescuers were themselves hard up in coping to the demands of the situation because of lack of a platform to cater to all the equipment and logistics of rescuers. Unfortunately, the present inventory of naval vessels, limits the Navy’s immediate delivery of services to victims of calamities in the country. The urgency of acquiring the MRV is often felt strongly during times when peoples’ lives and properties are in great danger.
LC-551 is transporting 36 tons of relief goods from the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund composed of food, clothing, medicine, and tents. A 30-ton load of assorted food, used clothing, medicine, and tents from the Department of Social Welfare and Development is also on board.