PN now readying ships for 'Urduja' relief efforts

By Priam Nepomuceno

December 18, 2017, 2:41 pm

MANILA -- The Philippine Navy (PN) is now readying its strategic sealift vessels and landing craft heavies (LCHs) to help in the ongoing relief efforts for provinces devastated by tropical depression 'Urduja'.

This was bared by PN flag-officer-in-command Vice Admiral Ronald Joseph Mercado in a statement Monday.

He was referring to the BRP Tarlac (LD-601) and BRP Davao Del Sur (LD-602), the two strategic sealift vessels acquired from Indonesian shipbuilder PT PAL (Persero) and five LCHs acquired from the Royal Australian Navy.

The above-mentioned ships are now preparing to sealift goods, equipment, and personnel to aid in relief operations.

In the same vein, Mercado has also has directed Naval Forces Central, which is based in Mactan, Cebu, to immediately undertake humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions in the affected provinces in conjuction with the local government units and agencies.

In a related development, Central Command (CENTCOM) spokesperson Col. Medel Aguilar said another Navy vessel will be deployed to bring relief goods and other items to 'Urduja'-battered Biliran where at least 26 people were reported killed by landslides and flooding.

"CENTCOM has alerted the Naval Forces Central to deploy a naval vessel that will bring relief goods to Biliran the soonest time possible. Food, water and medicines will be given priority," Aguilar said in a text message Monday.

Due to the damages sustained by the province, Biliran has been placed under a state of calamity.

Aside from the 26 killed, 23 others are still missing as of this posting. (PNA)