Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Saturday two Lockheed C-130 “Hercules” cargo aircraft and 10 helicopters will be deployed for Typhoon Ompong relief and rescue efforts, particularly in Cagayan Valley, once the weather clears.
Lorenzana made the statement during a 9 a.m. press briefing presided by Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque that was held at the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Building in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
The defense chief said the two C-130s can airlift relief goods while the 10 helicopters can reach Cagayan Valley’s mountainous area to fulfill rescue missions.
He said these air assets are on standby at Villamor Air Base in Pasay City and could fly anytime once the weather improves.
Lorenzana also said troops are available in Cagayan and other affected provinces for rescue missions.
According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), the typhoon made landfall at Baggao, Cagayan at about 1:40 a.m. Saturday.
All available military transport assets, he said, can be used by the Department of Social Welfare and Development for the transport of relief goods and other items to communities needing help in the affected provinces.
He added that they are still waiting for damage reports caused by “Ompong” from the Cagayan Valley, Cordillera and Ilocos regions.
“Base sa sinabi ng PAGASA kanina, malakas pa din ang bagyo dyan kaya yun atin mga members ng NDRRMC ay hindi pa makapag-gala at makapag-assess ng damage. In fact, yun atin mga kasundaluhan ay handang tumulong sa mga nangangailangan ng tulong,” (Based on what PAGASA reported earlier, the typhoon is still being felt in these areas, preventing our NDRRMC members to go around and to assess the damage. In fact, our soldiers are ready to extend help,” Lorenzana said.
Northern Luzon Command head, Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Salamat, is in Tuguegarao, Cagayan managing efforts of the Armed Forces of the Philippines related to “Ompong”, along with the NDRRMC and Office of Civil Defense.
“Siguro maghintay pa tayo ng ilang oras at hintayin natin humupa yun hangin para makapag-gala yun atin mga NDRRMC upang ma-assess yun damage na ginawa ng Typhoon Ompong (Perhaps, we still need a few hours for the strong winds to cease for our NDRRMC members to go around and assess the damage brought about by ‘Ompong’),” he added.