Army and police travel to quake-affected areas for search and rescue operations

The Armed Forces of the Philippines said it has deployed 14 search, rescue and recovery (SRR) teams to areas affected by the magnitude 7 earthquake that struck northern Luzon.

According to army spokesman Colonel Xerxes Trinidad, the units that responded were from the 5th Infantry Division based in Isabela and the 7th Infantry Division based in Nueva Ecija.

“(Troops from the 54th Infantry Battalion and a squad of active auxiliaries from CAFGU rescued stranded patients aboard an ambulance at Sitio Balawa, Barangay Liwon, Asipulo, Ifugao. The patients were quickly brought back to the ‘Barangay Antipolo, Asipulo, Ifugao Rural Health Unit,’ he said.

Meanwhile, troops from the 71st Infantry Battalion provided assistance and carried out rescue operations for residents of Barangay Poblacion Norte, Lidlidda, Ilocos Sur.

“Army engineers from the 548th Engineer Battalion also cleared debris blocking the Naguilian to La Union road while the 72nd Reconnaissance Division assisted in evacuating villagers from the coastal barangays of Santa Lucia, Ilocos Sur,” said said Trinidad.

Get the latest news

delivered to your inbox

Sign up for the Manila Times daily newsletters

By registering with an email address, I acknowledge that I have read and accept the terms of use and the privacy policy.

Meanwhile, the AFP statement said the 24th Infantry Battalion (24IB) evacuated the patients to a hospital in Bangued, Abra.

Deployed personnel from the 71IB were assigned to rescue affected residents in Vigan, Ilocos Sur.

The 54IB, 72nd Division Reconnaissance Company, 502nd Infantry Brigade and active CAFGU auxiliary units assisted in clearing roads, provided transport assistance and conducted search and rescue operations in different areas of northern Luzon.

The Army also led the 525th Engineering and Construction Battalion, Philippine Army; Philippine Air Force 505th Search and Rescue Group; and the Philippine Navy’s Naval Installation Command to provide salvage teams to assist with rescue efforts in the hardest hit areas of northern Luzon.

Lieutenant General Ernesto Torres Jr, commander of AFP’s Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM), also ordered the use of a C208 aircraft for the aerial survey.

AFP said soldiers were continuing search, rescue and recovery operations while other units were helping DSWD distribute relief items to the affected population.

AFP leadership has directed its units through NOLCOM to maximize the use of personnel, equipment and other resources to support humanitarian relief and disaster response efforts local and national governments in severely affected areas to improve the situation of affected residents.

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Thursday held a farewell ceremony for its personnel who would carry out relief operations in earthquake-affected areas in northern Luzon.

The officer in charge of the PNP, Lt. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr., reminded troops to take extra precautions as aftershocks continue to be felt.

He also warned them against Communist rebels who might take advantage of the situation to stage attacks.

Brandon D. James