|(Photo produced by Kawal Pinoy)|
Published in Philippine News Agency
"Prepare to assist our people during calamities. As first responders, we must be able to appropriately respond and help our people," he said during his visit to the Northern Luzon Command headquarters in Camp Servillano Aquino,
. Tarlac City
The DND chief's visit was part of his rounds in different military camps to check the preparedness of troops in responding to disasters.
The series of calamities, particularly typhoons, prompted the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to step up its disaster response capability.
It maybe recalled that then Northern Luzon Command head and now AFP chief-of-staff Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. directed all military commanders in Central and
Northern Luzon to designate an area inside military camps as evacuation center.
Gazmin specifically instructed line unit commanders to identify disaster rescue and relief operations (DRRO) equipment which the soldiers need in order to act appropriately in times of calamities.
The list will be forwarded to Higher Headquarters, then to the DND for procurement so that soldiers will be able to perform humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR) immediately.
Several equipment, including vehicles, aircraft and water ships, have already been procured and the AFP is now acquiring more DRRO equipment as part of the continuing upgrade in the capabilities of line units in HADR as well as combat operations.
Some of the DRRO equipment are included in the big ticket items lined up in the list procured and still to be procured under the AFP Modernization Program.
Gazmin also apprised soldiers on the progress of the AFP Modernization Program, particularly on rifles, tanks, aircraft and watercraft which are to be procured.
With the country concluding its observance of National Disaster Consciousness Month in July, Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Voltaire Gazmin urged all members of the military on Thursday to assist their disaster-stricken countrymen.