Philippine Navy (PN) reservists under the Naval Forces Reserve West (NFRW) have geared up to extend their efforts on the fight against COVID-19 in different areas in Palawan.
Lt. Erlinda Quisto, commanding officer of 4232 Naval Company Reserve in Bataraza who is also a Municipal Social Welfare and Development (MSWS) officer, said in an interview Sunday that the reservists assisted in the distribution of cash assistance under the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) and the implementation of social distancing.
“Nag-focus tayo dito sa assistance sa SAP and social distancing. Kailangan natin ng manpower kasi hindi talaga kaya –kung kami lang ay hindi kaya. ‘Yong mga active ay tumutulong sa atin sa social distancing,” she said.
Chief-Master-At-Arms (CMAA) of Naval Group Reserve (NGR) Coron PO3 Enrique Margarejo Jr. said they have deployed personnel in five checkpoints in the town and conducted different activities such as safety precautionary measure.
“Nasa 22 kami dito sa Coron at ‘yong mga reservist natin ay tumutulong sa mga pulis at sundalo sa checkpoints, may lima pong checkpoint dito. Tumutulong rin sa repacking of relief goods,” Margarejo said.
PO3 Maria Ana Mercado, Busuanga 4113 Naval Company Reserve (NCR) CMAA also assured that they performed their duty to prevent the possible entry of viruses in the northernmost tip of Palawan.
“Ang inyong reservists dito sa Busuanga ay tumutulong tayo para mapigilan ang pagpasok mg COVID dito sa Palawan. May information dissemination tayong ginagawa para maging aware ang mga tao,” she said.
Lieutenant Commander Silvanny Delight Gastanes, commanding officer of 42nd Naval Group Reserve (NGR) in Puerto Princesa City said in an interview that Philippine Navy including marine reservists have been mobilized to participate in disaster response activities.
She said, however, those with Active Duty Training (ADT) are allowed to participate in the activities.
In Puerto Princesa City, there are 17 reservists who are allowed to participate in repacking goods, face shield making, and other COVID-19 related activities.
“Sa Puerto Princesa, 17 lang kami sa team ng COVID. Tumulong tayo sa pagawa ng face shield ng Red Cross then repacking ng relief goods sa DSWD Sicsican, sa Capitol and sa JENTEC warehouse,” Gastanes said.
She also said that reservists are specifically tasked to augment manpower in checkpoints and relief operations.
“Dito sa Puerto ay hindi na muna tayo pinasama sa checkpoints kasi kaya naman ng mga sundalo at pulis. Kaya nag-focus tayo sa relief operations,” she said.
Gastanes, in addition, said that reservists have a vital role in the disaster response in accordance with the Republic Act 7077 or Reservist Act of the Philippines.
Reservists may be mobilized to help in the local government units in the fight against COVID-19, such as assisting in logistics, area containment, and checkpoints.
“Ang reservist kasi, tayo ang force multiplier, tayo ang magmu-multiply sa pwersa ng mga regular na sundalo. Katulad ngayon, dapat i-mobilize ang mga reservists para tumulong sa disaster response. Malaking tulong po ang reservists pati sa information dissemination kung paano makakaiwas sa COVID,” Gastanes said.
Reservists of the Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) in Rizal under the 84th Marine Battalion (MBat) are also conducting checkpoints in strategic areas within the town.
The latest data obtained by Palawan News showed that there are around 6,200 reservists in the entire province under the NFRW headquarters managed by Naval Reserve Center West (NRCW).