AFP’s tireless toil amidst disaster
When Typhoon Odette wreaked havoc on the Visayas and Mindanao in December 2021, military soldiers were among the first to respond.
“Our personnel were immediately deployed to help in the prevention, mitigation, and response operations before, during, and after the typhoon to assist in the delivery and transport of relief goods, supplies, equipment, and personnel in the affected areas,” said AFP Chief of Staff General Andres Centino.
In Mimaropa, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Northern Mindanao, and Caraga, which were heavily affected by Typhoon Odette, a total of 9,079 AFP personnel were deployed.
For relief and rescue activities, the military used 28 naval vessels, 30 aircrafts, and 769 land assets.
With the help of its partner-stakeholders from private aviation and shipping companies, a total of 522,675 kilograms of relief goods and equipment were transported by air, 4.1 million kilograms by sea, and 4.9 million kilograms by land, including the safe transport of 2,100 stranded individuals back to their communities.
The AFP also aided other government agencies in providing basic services, as well as private utility firms in restoring power and water supply in the impacted areas.
Moreover, with the activation of the AFP Civil-Military Coordination Center, the AFP received and facilitated over 8 million kilos of relief goods from 460 donors.
Likewise, the newly acquired assets were utilized in the transport, rapid damage assessment, evacuation, and clearing operations. The Navy's missile frigate BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150), the Air Force's S-70i "Black Hawk" helicopters, and the Army's KM-250 and engineering equipment are among them.
The AFP also set up a mobile kitchen in Cebu, feeding 24,925 people and sent carpentry workers to rebuild damaged dwellings.
Meanwhile, in Siargao, the BRP Ang Pangulo (ACS-25) served 1,614 patients after being transformed into a floating hospital.
With these efforts of the AFP during disasters, it gained the commendation from President Rodrigo Duterte, the Commander-in-Chief as he acknowledge the humanitarian services of military to the Filipino people in trying times, on the top of their job to secure peace and order, particularly neutralizing the communist terrorist New People's Army (NPA).
"I would like to reiterate, on behalf of the people of the Philippines. I would like to commend and salute the AFP for their toil. It was really a toil to be there, helping everybody," Duterte said.
The military will continue to strive to provide services to the Filipino people whatever crises or disaster it may face in the years, months, and days to come.