CAMP GENERAL EMILIO AGUINALDO, Quezon City – Military Engineers together with the Philippine Army’s 1st Special Forces Battalion have already begun their road clearing operations in Tacloban to open up major supply routes and allow for the faster delivery of goods and aid to victims of Typhoon Yolanda.
The troops arrived in Tacloban in two batches last Monday and yesterday. Their mission is to aid existing troops in their Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HADR) operations as well as to provide assistance in road clearing operations, support on-going evacuations, and assist efforts to restore peace and order in typhoon-stricken areas. The military is expecting more responders coming from the Philippine Army in the coming days.
Meanwhile, the 11 M35 trucks from the Army are expected to arrive later today in Tacloban to assist in the transport requirements from the two current major supply drop-off points in Tacloban and Guiuan. Aside from Tacloban Airport, the Guiuan Air Strip in Samar was opened up as a major supply drop off point for HADR and relief goods. In other hard to reach places in Eastern Visayas, military choppers are still being utilized to deliver aid and relief goods to identified drop zones. Mactan Air Base in Cebu remains the main supply hub for relief goods going into Tacloban.
US lends air transportation assets
In aid of ongoing HADR efforts in Tacloban, the United States of America lent the use of their air transportation assets to allow for the faster delivery of goods and services of volunteers, as well as evacuation of survivors.
The United States has deployed two Osprey aircraft that transported HADR assets and relief goods from Manila to Mactan. US C-130s in Tacloban brought in HADR assets and relief goods and helped evacuate survivors out of Tacloban City. There are between 4 to 7 sorties in and out of Tacloban by the US aircraft.
Efforts in Panay Island
In Panay, the provinces of Capiz and Aklan, and portions of Northern Iloilo and Northern Antique were severely hit by the super typhoon. Two major supply/logistics hubs were identified and established by the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division in Iloilo City and Roxas City.
Since day one, forty-five officers and 800 enlisted personnel from 3ID, PA have been conducting HADR operations in Panay. Additionally, 250 reservists from the Army, Air Force, and Navy volunteered their time to assist in the ongoing operations in Panay.
AFP choppers also brought in the relief goods into Roxas City from Iloilo City; during that time roads were still impassable due to felled trees and landslides. When the roads were cleared the Army used their M35 trucks to keep the flow of goods and HADR assets moving from Iloilo City to Roxas City. Likewise, two Navy ships (DF341 and DF352) delivered aid and relief goods to the islands of Carles and Estancia in Northern Iloilo.
The next day (November 10), communication centers were quickly established at Estancia in northern Iloilo, Roxas City in Capiz, Kalibo airport in Aklan, and San Jose in Antique utilizing military Harris tactical radio and URC 187 to establish command and control.
Last Monday, November 11, one M35 truck and one longbed truck full of relief goods delivered to Antique province; two M35 trucks delivered to Roxas City; and one M35 truck delivered to Iloilo airport to transport to island communities via helicopter.