AFP ready to deploy more rescue teams to Cagayan Valley region

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has deployed and is preparing to send more personnel and assets to help communities in the Cagayan Valley region that have been severely affected by the series of typhoons, including “Ulysses”, which has caused heavy flooding.

“The AFP hears the calls for help. We have sent and will continue to send personnel and assets to the areas in Region 2 (Cagayan Valley) affected by the heavy flooding brought by recent typhoons,” AFP Chief of Staff, Gen. Gilbert Gapay, said in a statement Saturday.

The entire Joint Task Force Tala, composed of the 5th Infantry Division, Naval Forces Northern Luzon, Marine Battalion Landing Team (MBLT) 10, and Tactical Operations Group 2, has been on the search, rescue, and retrieval mode.

“All resources of these units are being used to rescue and provide relief to stricken individuals and communities in CAR (Cordillera Administrative Region) and Region 2,” he added.

Gapay said two water search-and-rescue (WASAR) teams from Tactical Operations Group 2 are on the third day of their mission in Ilagan City, Isabela, while three search, rescue and retrieval (SRR) teams of the Marine Battalion Landing Team (MBLT) 1, equipped with rubber boats and trucks are in Alcala, Cagayan.

“More than 91 SRR units of the Northern Luzon Command are spread out in 12 provinces and 31 municipalities,” Gapay said.

Meanwhile, five helicopters and three more WASAR teams are just waiting for fair weather to fly in and help, he added.

“We continue to cooperate with the Bureau of Fire Protection, Philippine National Police, Philippine Coast Guard, and other members of the SRR Cluster in order to help as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. We have faced many challenges. Our resilience and ‘Bayanihan’ have kept us forward. We call on everyone to hold on to safety. Help is on the way. And help will come,” Gapay said.

As this developed, the Philippine Navy (PN) said a disaster response and rescue team (DRRT) is now headed for Alcala, Cagayan to help in ongoing rescue efforts in the floods caused by the spilling of water from Magat Dam brought by the onslaught of “Ulysses”.

The PN DDRT is composed of 14 personnel led by Marine Lt. Col. Carlo Bubuli and is based at the Naval Forces Northern Luzon’s Naval Base Camilo Osias in Sta. Ana, Cagayan.

The team is equipped with a rubber boat with an outboard motor and other DRRT equipment.
Three of the DDRT members are corpsmen from MBLT-10 and a PN reservist trained in emergency response operations. (PNA)

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