MANILA — As the Philippines is a calamity-prone country, it is only fitting that military exercises with allied countries also focus on joint humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) missions.
“Joint HADR trainings are being emphasized because our country is a disaster-prone area and we have to be prepared to act as host country during disasters,” Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) public affairs office chief, Col. Noel Detoyato, said in a message to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Friday when asked why HADR seems to be a focus when the military conducts maneuvers and training with its allies.
It is also a good way to ensure that Filipino and allied units can seamlessly work together in times of calamities.
Earlier, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said calamities that have struck the country in the past years show the need for the country to toughen up and put its best disaster risk reduction and management assets to work.
“The adverse effects of the changing climate patterns and extreme weather conditions are critical points in our nation’s security. Recall what happened to our country during the times of ‘Ondoy’, ‘Yolanda’, and ‘Usman’,” the defense chief added.
Due to these calamities, Lorenzana said they have been strongly advocating the upgrade of the Office of Civil Defense into a Department of Disaster Resilience.
“We are happy that it continues to gain ground. House (of Representatives) Bill 8165 was already approved on third and final reading,” the defense chief said. Priam Nepomuceno/PNA-northboundasia.com