RESERVE UNITS.  Commanding General of the Philippine Army (CGPA) Lt. Gen. Romeo S. Brawner Jr. highlights the need to strengthen the country's reserve force during his traditional "Talk to Troops" at Camp Riego de Dios in Tanza, Cavite on Friday (May 27, 2022). Brawner said the PA reserve units play a key role in disaster response. (Photo courtesy of PA)  

MANILA – Reserve units of the Philippine Army (PA) play a key role in disaster response, Army chief Lt. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. said during his visit to the Reserve Command Philippine Army (RCPA) headquarters in Camp Riego De Dios in Tanza, Cavite on Friday.

"The CGPA (Commanding General of the Philippine Army) lauded Army reservists for playing a crucial role in the relief and rescue efforts that saved lives in the aftermath of calamities, particularly in the aftermath of Typhoon Odette late last year and Tropical Storm Agaton last month," PA spokesperson Col. Xerxes Trinidad said in a statement Saturday.

During the visit, Brawner assured more support for the RCPA headquarters and its line units, which include the Regional Community Defense Groups and Community Defense Centers.

He also underscored the Army leadership’s support for the RCPA in terms of personnel, logistics, fuel requirements, and facilities improvement.

Brawner also highlighted the need to strengthen the country’s reserve force to bolster the country’s defense readiness posture.

He reiterated Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief, Gen. Andres C. Centino’s directive to tap reservists for civil-military operations, such as bloodletting and tree-planting activities.

“Let’s remain solid as the Philippine Army. Let us continue to be professionals. Let's continue to fulfill our mandate with utmost commitment,” Brawner said.

The PA has about 790,000 standby and ready reserves who perform an important role in the implementation of development support and security operations of the AFP, especially in humanitarian assistance and disaster response efforts.

As this developed, Trinidad said the 546th Engineer Combat Battalion (546ECB) of the 53rd Engineer Brigade continues to build temporary homes for families displaced by “Agaton” in Baybay City, Leyte.

The shelters, funded by the Office of the Civil Defense 8 (Eastern Visayas), are being built by Army engineers in cooperation with the Department of Public Works and Highways.

Brawner also conferred the humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) streamer award on the unit during his official visit to the headquarters of the 8th Infantry Division in Camp Vicente Lukban, Catbalogan, Samar earlier this month.

The award recognizes the unit’s vital role in the national government-led HADR efforts for calamity victims, most notably in the aftermath of “Odette” in December 2021 and “Agaton” in April 2022.

It can be recalled that the 546ECB deployed search and rescue teams and HADR equipment to help clear landslide-hit barangays in Baybay City and Mahaplag, Leyte.

The unit also played a key role in the search, rescue, and retrieval efforts for victims of massive landslides that hit Leyte during “Agaton’s” onslaught. (PNA)