The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) told troops to be vigilant against possible attacks and atrocities by communist terrorist groups (CTGs) amid their search and rescue operations in areas affected by Super Typhoon Rolly.
“Despite the focus on disaster response operations, (AFP chief-of-staff) Gen. Gilbert Gapay directed all units in affected areas to be on alert for possible atrocities that may be conducted by the CTG,” said AFP public affairs office chief, Navy Capt. Jonathan Zata, in a statement Monday.
The official added that Gapay has also ordered intensified intelligence monitoring to prevent enemy attempts to disrupt humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) missions.
“Rest assured that the AFP will continue to keep its guards up against the CTG who are expected to take advantage of this disaster to regroup, flee on-going military operations, and even stage atrocities,” Zata said.
All AFP units in Super Typhoon Rolly-hit areas are already on heightened HADR stance and assist local government units and national agencies in helping affected communities.
AFP tells ‘Rolly’ search, rescue troops to be vigilant vs. Reds
“The AFP has already started conducting damage assessment operations in several hard-hit areas including in Catanduanes, Legazpi, Camarines provinces, and Northern Samar,” Zata said.
One C-130 heavy transport and two C-295 aircraft have also been committed to transporting additional personnel, equipment, and supplies to the Tactical Operations Group 5 in Legazpi City, Albay, to augment the military disaster response units in the Bicol region.
Five helicopters are also being used for aerial reconnaissance, evacuation, and transport of relief goods.
“The whole of JTF (Joint Task Force) Bicolandia is on search, retrieval, and rescue operations (SRR) mode. With the shift of focus from internal security operations to disaster response, all infantry battalions of the Philippine Army in the 9th ID (Infantry Division) area of responsibility were also tapped to conduct SRR (search, rescue, retrieval) in support of the LGUs (local government units),” Zata said.
According to the latest National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) report, Super Typhoon Rolly affected over two million residents from 12 regions.