Marine reservists enhance readiness on HADR Ops in Exercise Pagsasama 2020

Troops from the 7th Marine Brigade (Reserve) and 9th Marine Battalion (9MBN) participated in Exercise Pagsasama 2020 in Ternate, Cavite from November 23 to 27, 2020.

Fleet-Marine Ready Force (FMRF), Philippine Navy (PN), in partnership with the Naval Reserve Command (NRC), conducted a unilateral military exercise, the Exercise Pagsasama 2020, in the areas of Manila and Cavite. Exercise Pagsasama 2020 is an integration of PN reserves to PN regular force, which aims to enhance the readiness and interoperability between regular and reserve force in responding to the call of service in times of national emergencies and disasters. The exercise objective was to involve marine reserve in the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) missions of the Philippine Navy where the delivery of the PN-HADR contingent to affected areas utilizes reserve units’ assets and capabilities.

The Pagsasama contingent composed of three (3) marine officers reserves and twenty-one (21) marine enlisted men reserves from 72nd, 73rd, and 74th Marine Battalion (Reserve), 7th Marine Brigade (Reserve) led by 1lt. Melchor Arellano PN(M) (Res) and were integrated into 9th Marine Battalion headed by Lt. Col. Mark Anthony Arabe PN(M).

The PN/PMC surgeon started the exercise with mass casualty management training to equip them with the skills and knowledge on casualty evacuation. Helicopter Recovery with the AW109 naval helicopters from Naval Air Wing (NAW) was also conducted to demonstrate how to secure evacuees before hoisting to an air evacuation.

Amphibious operation was the highlight of this exercise using PN surface assets that included corvette ship BRP Conrado Yap (PS39), multipurpose attack craft (MPAC), and PN auxiliary reserve units (PNARU). It is a simulation on the delivery of HADR contingent to affected areas where roads and land access are impassable and the only access in delivering assistance missions is through the sea. Parts of the exercise contingent are heavy machinery from the Naval Combat Engineering Brigade (NCEBde) and 22nd Naval Group Reserve, Naval Forces Reserve, NCR, 20th Engineering Battalion that does the clearing of roads and buildings.

This kind of military exercise serves to increase the readiness of Marines in responding to any disasters or calamities. As seen in recent HADR operations, the Marines have shown that they are the most deployable forces ready to work with local governments and assist communities when disasters strike.

The “Exercise Pagsasama 2020” is headed by the Flag Officer-in-Command, Philippine Navy, Vice Admiral Giovanni Carlo J. Bacordo PN. He is supported by the FMRF Commander BGen Armel S. Tolato PN(M), the Officer Conducting the Exercise, and FMRF Deputy Commander for Fleet Operations, Capt Lemuel Espartinez PN as the Exercise Director. PHILIPPINE MARINE CORPS