Friday, June 4, 2010

Army in Bicol Prepares for Natural Disasters, Activates a Special Unit for Disaster Response Operations

DRO specialists demonstrating some of their life-saving skills

CAMP ELIAS ANGELES, Pili, CamSur – The Army in the Bicol Region has activated a special unit that would be tasked to conduct disaster response operations (DRO) in the event of natural calamities, a military official said.

Major Harold Cabunoc, 9th ID Spokesperson said that a 35-man strong DRO unit has been activated on May 20, 2010.

Cabunoc said that the newly activated unit has started its various skills development training such as Rope Technician’s Course, Mountain Operations Search and Rescue (MOSAR), Water Search and Rescue (WASAR) and Spineboard training.

The soldiers who compose the Army’s primary rescue unit are very happy to perform their non-traditional roles in the service of the Bicolanos.

First Lieutenant Ronnie Sicad, the Platoon Leader, said that his unit is still undergoing a series of sustainment training activities to further develop their confidence and abilities.

“We are conducting daily practices on combat life saving and rope courses which are among the most important skills that we need to help the victims of heavy flooding and the rampaging typhoons,” Sicad said, during the strenuous rappelling activity today.

Aside from the skills training, the new DRO unit are equipped with rubber boats, sophisticated ropes, flares and floating devices.

The 4x4 medium built KM 450 trucks are also among the fleet of vehicles that are issued to this unit.

The highly-trained soldiers of this unit are also responsible for the training of the selected soldiers who are assigned in the different provinces in the region. Mobile training teams will be sent to re-echo the skills and knowledge needed by the Army rescue operators.

Major General Ruperto Pabustan, Commander of the 9th Infantry Division, has prioritized the activation of a rescue unit after experiencing the various natural calamities in 2009.

“Last year, we had shown the bravery of our soldiers who crossed raging floodwaters to save some hapless victims, despite of the lack of rescue equipment. This time, I have ensured that they are issued the necessary equipment and the proper training as well,” said Pabustan.

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