Pacific Partnership ends Samar mission-A A +A
Sunday, July 1, 2012
CALBAYOG CITY -- The 14-day Pacific Partnership (PP) 2012 humanitarian and civic assistance was successfully culminated Sunday, with disaster response as one of the mission highlight.
The PP 2012 conducted various medical, engineering, and other civic assistance to residents of Samar from June 18-30. It was “designed to strengthen regional partnership and enhance a collective ability to respond to natural disasters and crises.”
In an interview, PP 2012 Mission Commander Captain Jim Morgan said “no matter where we participate in, we need to continue to build on our ability response, to work together.”
“I am very impressed not only on the emphasis on the humanitarian disaster relief but also the preparedness of the local governments and the military to respond whether in the Philippines or anywhere else because it is a collective response we rely on,” Morgan said.
The Armed forces of the Philippines (AFP) deployed the 8th Infantry Division under General Gerardo Layug for this mission.
Layug said the AFP learned a lot regarding disaster response and preparedness, adding that they took part from the planning phase to actual exercises.
Storm Trooper Disaster Response Task Force (STDTF) Commander Colonel Emmanuel Cacdac said, “We are quite satisfied with our performance. We were able to identify the weaknesses in integrating the AFP efforts with local government units of Western Samar, municipality of San Jorge and Gandara, and San Isidro in Northern Samar.”
“We did well in our simulated exercises. We hope we can be better first responder when typhoon disasters strike,” Cacdac said.
When asked about their assessment on their local counterpart, Morgan said “very impressive, they worked side by side in every state of the mission whether medical or engineering.”
“Not only that but with the Subject Matter Expert Exchange (SMEE), we learn from you as much as you learn from us,” he added.
Samar first district Representative Mel Sarmiento explained the importance of disaster response in the country.
“The Philippines is a multi-hazard country. We are capable to respond, but at the end of the day we need the equipment for us to be able to execute that plan well,” he said.
He added that in the first 24 to 72 hours of any disaster, the community and military are the immediate responders before the multi-national response.
Meanwhile, the US Navy, Japanese Navy, AFP, Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire and Protection, non-government organizations, other local government units, and local disaster response and rescue units in Samar conducted a three-day medical disaster response conference culminating with various actual medical and rescue simulation exercises last June 25-27.
“This is a big help. We learned how to properly respond during disasters,” said Calbayog City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office head Jun Cortado in an interview during the event.
Cortado said that through this activity, the City Government can realize the need for proper resources and equipment in dealing with disasters.
In its social media site Facebook, the PP 2012 has conducted 26 surgeries, fixed four pieces of biomedical equipment, evaluated 2,034 patients for treatment and treated 617 animals.
The USNS Mercy will stop at Subic before heading to Vietnam and Cambodia for other missions to the host nations of this year’s PP 2012. (Gerwin Babon)