Full force: Navy goes all out in humanitarian ops in typhoon-devastated areas

Published December 20, 2021, 12:12 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

The Philippine Navy (PN) assembled a 19-ship humanitarian aid-focused flotilla that sailed to different areas in Visayas and Mindanao to help rebuild communities that were destroyed by typhoon “Odette.”

(Courtesy of Philippine Fleet)

On the orders of Vice Admiral Adeluis Bordado, PN Flag Officer in Command, the Navy organized the relief flotilla which consists of seven sealift vessels for transport of relief goods and locally stranded individuals, two patrol ships for command and control, and nine other watercraft as general support vessels.

Among those deployed was the Presidential yacht, BRP Ang Pangulo (ACS25), which was re-purposed into a 10-bed floating hospital to accommodate individuals who will be needing medical attention in typhoon-hit areas in Mindanao.

BRP Ang Pangulo departed from Pier 13, Manila South Harbor on Sunday night for Siargao Island while carrying thousands of relief goods hauled by the fleet-marine personnel from different PN vessels.

The relief items from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) include 1,000 boxes of family food packs, 300 rolls of laminated sacks, and 1,212 hygiene kits.

“This effort demonstrates the usefulness and versatility of PN assets to provide wide-ranging services for those needing them the most during calamities. It also highlights the Navy’s ongoing efforts to assist other government agencies in responding to our fellow Filipinos being affected by the onslaught of Typhoon Odette,” said Commander Benjo Negranza, PN spokesperson.

Meanwhile, the Navy’s brand new frigate, BRP Antonio Luna (FF151), was deployed along with landing dock vessel BRP Tarlac (LD601), logistics support vessel BRP Bacolod City (LS550), patrol ship BRP Andres Bonifacio (PS17), and landing craft vessels BRP Iwak (LC289), BRP Agta (LC290), and BRP Ivatan (LC298) to augment the ongoing humanitarian assistance and disaster response efforts (HADR) in Cebu, Palawan, Surigao, Dinagat Island, and Siargao Island.

Landing craft utility vessel BRP Tausug (LC295), patrol crafts BRP Enrique Jurado (PC371) and BRP Abraham Camp (PC396), and ACS 700 had also arrived in Cebu for HADR operations.

On the other hand, research vessel BRP Gregorio Velasquez (AGR702) and patrol craft BRP Rafael Pargas (PC379) were deployed to Northern Mindanao where it completed several relief sorties already. BRP Ang Pangulo is scheduled to join them in Siargao and Dinagat Islands.

The PN also prepositioned in Palawan auxillary ship BRP Mangyan (AS71), patrol crafts BRP Jose Andrada (PC370), BRP Carlos Albert, and BRP Dioscoro Papa (PC381).

“The PN has also placed four naval aircraft on alert status to provide aerial survey, immediate rescue, and limited transport capabilities to the said humanitarian flotilla,” Negranza noted.

The naval air component consists of two Britten-Norman (BN) Islander aircraft, the NV312 and NV314; a Beechcraft King Air (C90) aircraft, the NV394; and a ship-based AgustaWestland (AW109) helicopter, the NH430.

Negranza said the PN’s relief operations in Northern Mindanao, Cebu, and Palawan were directed by the current Naval Operating Forces commanders in the area – Commodore Carlos Sabarre in Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao (Northern Mindanao), Captain Raul Regis in Naval Forces Central (Cebu), and Commodore Donn Miraflor in Naval Forces West (Palawan).

The PN ships and aircraft were force-provided by the Cavite City-based Philippine Fleet under the command of Rear Admiral Alberto B Carlos.