File photo from Naval Forces West

The Naval Forces West (NFW) has started its Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HADR) operations in support of Western Command’s (WESCOM) Joint Task Force I-CARE and Palawan Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office’s (PDRRMO) relief operations to areas affected by Typhoon Odette last Friday.

As part of the HADR efforts, all naval assets under the NFW were made available, including PC370 and a chartered vessel that transported 120 sacks of rice to Roxas town as requested by the Office of the Vice President and PDRRMO.

It has also mobilized disaster response and rescue teams to assist JTF I-CARE and PDRRMO, and reservist troops for the repacking of relief goods to be distributed in some barangays of Puerto Princesa City. Search, rescue and retrieval (SRR)-trained reservist personnel were also dispatched to northern Palawan to augment the SRR teams of PDRRMO.

Navy aircraft NV312 was also dispatched to transport the needs and supplies of residents and military personnel assigned to Pag-asa Island, Kalayaan town in the West Philippine Sea, and conducted Maritime Air Surveillance (MAS) and Rapid Disaster Assessment and Needs Analysis (RDANA) to be able to identify and immediately resupply basic needs and repair communications equipment.

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Pag-asa Island, Kalayaan town in the West Philippine Sea after Typhoon Odette. (Photo from Philippine Coast Guard)

Meanwhile, the navy’s Civil Military Operations Group (CMOG) also coordinated with private individuals in Metro Manila, where approximately six loads of M35 truck assorted relief goods were donated by Paul Hinlo and his group, namely: Barangay Magallanes; AAV residents; RockEdrelief; and De La Salle Philippines.

Chief PNP Police General Dinardo Bernardo Carlos also donated assorted relief goods for the province.

The relief goods are now aboard BRP Jose Rizal (FF150) and en route to the province to be distributed among the most affected towns, including residents of Pag-asa island and navy personnel stationed in different Philippine-held features in the Kalayaan Island Group.

Odette’s devastation in Kalayaan

WESCOM commander VAdm. Ramil Roberto Rodriguez said Wednesday, December 22, that the new Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) detachment on Pag-asa Island in Kalayaan town was completely destroyed by Odette.

Troops staying on BRP Sierra Madre, he added, were unharmed when Odette exited the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) through the WPS.

“There’s no casualty, pero nasira ang detachment ng Coast Guard doon. Yong mga tropa sa Ayungin, ok sila doon,” he said.

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