FORT BONIFACIO, Metro Manila– The Philippine Army recently deployed
additional troops to support the Search, Rescue and Retrieval(SRR) operations in Bicol region which was heavily affected by landslides and heavy flooding as a result of Tropical Depression Usman and a low-pressure area.

The Commanding General Philippine Army, Lt. Gen. Alberto S. Macairog ordered the deployment of four SRR teams from the 525th Engineer Combat Battalion of the 51 st Engineer Brigade to augment the 9th Infantry (Spear) Division in its humanitarian assistance and disaster response effort.

Over the week, heavy flooding and massive landslides were reported in Bicol region particularly in the provinces of Albay and Camarines Sur which already claimed the lives of more than 50 people. As search and retrieval effort by 9ID along with other agencies continues, the probability that the number of fatalities could still increase because of the prevailing condition.

Rescue teams from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, PNP and BFP are exerting all efforts to locate and provide the necessary assistance to the people especially those who have been isolated by floods and landslides.

Aside from the SRR teams, the Philippine Army also facilitated the transport of various rescue equipment, medical supplies, carpentry tools, cadaver bags, folding beds, shovels and portable generators to complement the disaster response effort of Local Government Units and other concerned government agencies in the area.

Significantly, President Rodrigo Duterte along with other government and top AFP officials visited some heavily affected areas today to personally oversee and assess the situation. Three provinces in the Bicol Region were placed under state of calamity since Sunday, December 30, due to heavy rains.

The country constantly suffers from the onslaught of powerful typhoons and destructive earthquakes. In view of this phenomenon, the Philippine Army has expanded its horizon as well as its capability to respond in terms of disaster preparedness. The Army currently pursue its operational thrusts and programs with the inclusion of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HADR) as part of its mission areas.

Moreover, as part of its vision to become relevant and responsive, the Philippine Army continuously improve its organizational capability in support of the government’s effort in providing the necessary services to our people.#