Philippine Air Force personnel and aircraft are working hard to deliver aid and rescue residents of communities in Cagayan Valley. that were heavily affected by the massive flooding caused by Typhoon Ulysses.
In a statement Sunday, PAF spokesperson Lt. Col. Aristides Galang said Air Force efforts included the deployment of water search-and-rescue (WASAR) teams from the 505th Search and Rescue Group that were transported by two Bell 412 combat utility helicopters from the 207th Tactical Helicopter Squadron to Tuguegarao City, Cagayan Saturday.
The two helicopters also conducted rapid damage assessment and needs analysis (RDANA) and humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR) missions over Cagayan Valley.
Galang said the PAF rescue teams and assets established their staging area in the provincial capitol of Cagayan and prioritized rescue efforts in the most affected areas of the province.
He added that a PAF SF-260 aircraft also conducted RDANA over the affected areas.
Two Huey II helicopters also conducted aerial surveys and subsequently performed HADR missions over Amulung, Cagayan while two more UH-1H helicopters focused on rescue efforts in Iguig, Cagayan.
Galang said three C-295 aircraft were also used in transporting more 505th Search and Rescue Group personnel with their equipment as well as rescue personnel from the Philippine Navy (PN) for the sustained conduct of WASAR operations.
Among the equipment transported were seven boxes of rescue gear, three spineboards, two rubber boats fitted with outboard motors, two rope ladders and one portable floodlight generator.
Galang said part of the PAF’s latest effort include the deployment of a C-130 cargo which left Villamor Air Base, Pasay City for Tuguegarao City early Sunday morning for the transport of additional WASAR teams and their equipment for the ongoing rescue missions.
“With the leadership of its Commanding General Lt. Gen. Allen T. Paredes, the PAF will continue to perform its mandated task to protect its people by providing prompt and timely response especially in times of calamities and disasters,” he added.
PN reserve units join relief ops
As this developed, the PN is also hard at work conducting various rescue operations in different parts of Luzon and Metro Manila for residents and communities affected by “Ulysses”.
The PN reservists and assets have been in the frontlines and helping regular Navy units and other government agencies in evacuating and rescuing affected families.
In a statement Sunday, PN public affairs office chief Lt. Commander Maria Christina Roxas said the PN Reserve Force has been helping in relief efforts since Nov. 12.
“Naval Affiliated Reserve Force (NARF)-NCR (WesPhil) deployed two amphibious trucks with one rescue team of well-trained and capable reservists onboard each truck. The two six-man teams braved the typhoon and immediately headed to several affected areas in Navotas City to respond to the distress call of around 105 stranded individuals. The teams then proceed to heavily flooded Provident Village in Marikina City due to the continuous rising of water level in Marikina River,” she added.
NARF-NCR responders also met with another rescue team from the 27th Naval Affiliated Reserve Group (NARG) headed by Chief Petty Officer Peter Negrido (Res), one of the first PN reserve units to respond during the onslaught of Typhoon Rolly in Bicol last week.
Roxas said NARF-NCR and 27th NARG (Rescue Recon 1) joined forces to conduct rescue operations for the victims of Typhoon Ulysses.
She said these deployments are being supervised by the Naval Reserve Command headed by Maj. Gen. Ariel Caculitan in coordination with Joint Task Force-National Capital Region (JTF-NCR).
In Region 2 (Cagayan Valley), PN reservists from Northern Luzon have joined local government units (LGUs) in Cagayan in the conduct of search-and-rescue operations in the affected communities of widespread flooding in the province.
PN reserve force across Luzon have participated in packing and distribution of relief goods to different communities in Metro Manila and other Luzon provinces.
Meanwhile, Naval Reserve Center-Southern Luzon through the navy reservists from Camarines Sur under 31st Naval Group Reserve (NRG) augmented to inter-agency relief efforts of distributing relief goods to Barangay Sta. Eulalia and Barangay Iyagan, both in Baao, Camarines Sur.
Roxas said relief distribution for Typhoon Ulysses victims was also initiated by 22nd NRG-Team Star in Rodriguez and Montalban, Rizal.
“Said disaster response and relief operations demonstrated the invaluable contributions and selfless service of our reservists as force multipliers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines during calamities and other types of human and natural disasters,” she added.
Roxas said the Civil Military Operations Group-Philippine Navy (CMOG-PN) and other PN units have begun to deliver relief packs to the evacuees in different parts of Marikina City and nearby areas.
Rescue operations in these areas being augmented by disaster relief and response teams from the PN and its reserve force are still ongoing, she added.
Meanwhile, PN vessels BRP Pangasinan (PS-31), under the operational control of Naval Forces Southern Luzon and BRP Batak (LC-299) from Naval Forces Central transported relief goods and vehicles from Cebu City intended for the victims of recent typhoons that struck the Bicol Region.
“These sustained rescue and relief efforts manifest the preparedness and resolve of our PN and the whole of the Armed Forces to provide prompt humanitarian assistance for our fellow countrymen in need,” Roxas said. (PNA)