CAMP MELCHOR F DELA CRUZ, Upi, Gamu, Isabela- Troops of 5th Infantry Division, Philippine Army continuously respond to the aftermath of severe tropical storm Maring in Cagayan Valley and Cordillera Regions.
On October 11, 2021, the typhoon made a landfall in the province of Cagayan leaving hundreds of families in evacuation sites, damaged agricultural products and destroyed households. In response, the troops of 5ID together with the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Offices (LDRRMOs) of the affected municipalities in Cagayan and Cordillera, personnel from Local Police Stations, and other rescue teams joined hands in reaching the typhoon-affected families.
Before the onslaught of TY Maring, the 5ID Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HADR) contingency plan- Bayanihan Kaagapay Star Alpha-III was launched. The 501st and 503rd Infantry Brigades activated their HADR “OPLAN Sagip-Buhay” in Cagayan province and “OPLAN Sagip-Cordillera” respectively. Meanwhile, the 502nd Infantry Brigade based in Isabela province alerted its HADR teams for possible deployment and augmentation in affected areas.
Upon launching “OPLAN Sagip-Buhay,” the Marine Battalion Landing Team 10 (MBLT-10) proceeded to the LDRRMO for the pre-emptive evacuation in Sta. Teresita, Cagayan wherein six families consist of 18 individuals were immediately transferred to the evacuation area in Barangay Aridowen. Other troops of the said unit coordinated with the officials of LDRRMO in Barangay Flourishing, Gonzaga. On the other hand, the “OPLAN Sagip-Cordillera” teams were deployed in the different provinces and municipalities in CAR.
In addition, the 5th Civil-Military Operations Battalion and MBLT-10 evacuated 58 families in Barangays Dungeg (23 families) and Aridowen (35 families) of Sta. Teresita, Cagayan. While the troops of 77th Infantry Battalion extended help to the residents of Baggao evacuating 489 families consisting of 1,766 individuals. They also responded to the locals in recovering the wooden bridge in Asinga Via that was destroyed by typhoon Maring. In Peñablanca, Cagayan, Bravo Company of the said unit utilized rubber boat for rescue operations. While the other troops conducted feeding program to the typhoon-affected residents of Brgy Pinutulan, Gattaran.
Other Army personnel in Cagayan rendered manpower assistance in packing and in distribution of relief goods for the typhoon-affected families.
One casualty was recorded and was identified as Sheryl Guim, a resident of Ajat, Iguig, Cagayan who drowned in flashfloods. According to her family, the victim might have suffered from her epilepsy that caused the drowning.
Meanwhile in Cordillera Region, some provinces have experienced soil and rock erosion, landslide, and mudflow. The deployed troops in the provinces of Benguet and Mt. Province conducted road clearing operations. The 54th Infantry Battalion with its CAFGU Active Auxiliary (CAA) have been on the move to clear the roads from obstructions caused by the typhoon.
The Tactical Operations Group 1 (TOG1) also reached out to the residents in Baguio City by handing over family food packs. They also conducted retrieval operations together with the other disaster response teams to the reported three missing persons due to landslide in Barangay Dominican, Baguio City. The responders were able to retrieve the body of Alfredo Acosta, 49 years old, while the two children identified as Judy Tolipas and Talia Ocampo are still missing. There are five deaths and three injured individuals in the region.
MGen Laurence E Mina, Commander of 5ID commended the immediate action of the troops in responding to the typhoon-affected families. “I commend the deployed Disaster Response Teams (DRT) for their quick action in the most critical times during the onslaught of TS Maring. We will continue to conduct Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response Operations in coordination with the Provincial and Municipal DRRMOs.Our deployed troops are equipped with proper training and are experienced in rescue operations.”
He also reminded everyone in Cagayan Valley and Cordillera to remain proactive and be updated with the announcements of their LDRRMO for their safety.