The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has deployed additional troops and assets to conduct search, rescue, and retrieval (SRR) and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) operations in Metro Manila and other parts of Luzon after it was battered by typhoon “Ulysses,” authorities disclosed Monday.
Civil defense chief Ricardo Jalad said the death toll remained at 67 while the missing persons increased to 13. The missing persons were reported in Metro Manila (three), Calabarzon or Region 4A (two), and Bicol Region or Region 5 (eight).
Meanwhile, the damages to agriculture and infrastructure ballooned to P2.1 billion and P483 million, respectively, which were incurred in Metro Manila, Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Ilocos Region (Region 1), Cagayan Valley (Region 2), Central Luzon (Region 3), Calabarzon, Mimaropa or Region 4B, and Bicol Region.
General Gilbert Gapay, AFP Chief, said a total of 265,339 individuals were already saved in typhoon-affected areas in Northern Luzon, Southern Luzon, and Metro Manila through continuous operations over the weekend.
In Cagayan Valley (Region 2), the Philippine Air Force (PAF) sustained its rescue and relief operations where thousands of families were affected by massive flooding, said Lieutenant Colonel Aristedes Galang, PAF spokesperson.
PAF personnel aboard a Sikorsky S-76 commercial utility helicopter conducted a medical evacuation (medevac) in Gonzaga, Cagayan on Sunday where they saved Cleofina Abad, 78, and dialysis patient Rosendo Abad, 82.
Another med-evac was held by the 505th Search and Rescue Group aboard a UH-1H helicopter of the 207th Tactical Helicopter Squadron in Alcala, Cagayan where they flew three patients who needed immediate medical attention to the Cagayan Provincial Capitol.
The rescued patients were identified as Marieta del Rosario and her son, John, who were electrocuted; and Theresita Siason, who sustained a spinal injury at the height of the typhoon.
Meanwhile, two UH-1H helicopters under the Tactical Operations Group (TOG)-2 have also transported 3,500 lbs of cargoes of relief assistance from Cagayan Provincial Capitol to the municipalities of Alcala, Amulung, Lal-lo, Solana, and Enrile in Cagayan which were rendered inaccessible due to massive flooding.
A communications van from the 600th Air Base Group and an air traffic controller from the 5th Fighter Wing were also sent to the Cagayan Provincial Capitol to support the government’s HADR operations.
The PAF’s communications van is capable of air-to-ground, ground-to-ground, sea-to-ground, and long-range communications to ensure that coordination between the national government and local government units will not be hampered.
On the other hand, the air traffic controller is responsible for coordinating with inbound and outbound PAF aircraft which have been conducting non-stop aerial search and rescue operations over the affected areas.
“The deployment of the communications van and air traffic controller will further capacitate the search and rescue teams and other ground troops to expedite rescue operations to those affected by the heavy floods caused by typhoon Ulysses,” Galang said.
Philippine Navy (PN) reservists from the Naval Affiliated Reserve Force (NARF) also deployed two amphibious trucks with two six-man rescue teams aboard to respond to 105 distress calls in flooded areas in Navotas City, said Lieutenant Commander Christina Roxas, acting director of the naval public affairs office.
Relief goods were also distributed to hundreds of families in Barangay Sta. Eulalia and Iyagan in Baao, Camarines Sur; and in Rodriguez and Montalban towns in Rizal province by navy reservists from the Naval Reserve Center-Southern Luzon and 22nd Naval Reserve Group-Team Star.
The Philippine Army’s (PA) 54th Infantry Battallion carried out HADR missions to aid landslide victims in municipalities of Asipulo and Tinoc in Ifugao.
Army’s 1st and 80th Infantry Battallions also dispatched response teams in General Nakar, Quezon province. However, they were ambushed by seven alleged communist rebels which disrupted their post-disaster response operations.
No one was harmed on the side of the government and the troops managed to continue their HADR operations. Back up teams were deployed to run after the bandits, said Major General Greg Almerol, commander of 2nd Infantry Division (2ID).