MORE AID. Japan's Parliamentary Vice Minister of Defense Tsuyohito Iwamoto (center) greets troops of the Philippine Army's 525th Engineer Combat "Mandirigtas” Battalion troops in Fort Bonifacio on Monday (July 18, 2022). Iwamoto reaffirmed the Japanese government’s commitment to helping beef up the PA's disaster response capabilities. (Photo courtesy of Philippine Army)

MANILA – The Philippine Army (PA) is expected to get more humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) equipment from the Japanese government which will beef up its disaster response capabilities.

Japan Parliamentary Vice Minister of Defense Tsuyohito Iwamoto made this commitment to the PA during his visit to the 525th Engineer Combat Battalion (525ECB) in Fort Bonifacio on Monday.

"Parliamentary Vice Minister of Defense of Japan Vice Minister Tsuyohito Iwamoto reaffirmed the Japanese government’s commitment to helping beef up the PA’s disaster response capabilities during his visit to the 525ECB headquarters in Fort Bonifacio, Metro Manila on July 18, 2022," Army spokesperson Col. Xerxes Trinidad said in a statement Tuesday.

The 525ECB is the Army's premier disaster-response unit.

He added that the Japanese official's visit to the 525ECB and equipment inspection came nine months after Tokyo donated PHP51 million worth of water-search-and-rescue (WASAR) collapsed structure search-and-rescue (CSSR), and crushed vehicle extrication and rescue equipment to the PA.

The donation took place in October of last year.

This was followed by a week-long WASAR and CSSR training drill between 525ECB disaster-response teams and their Japanese counterparts in November 2021.

"The said donation forms part of Japan’s 'Non-Project Grant Aid for Provision of Japanese Disaster Reduction Equipment' to the Philippines which was formalized by both countries in March 2015," Trinidad said.

Meanwhile, 525ECB commander Lt. Col. Carlo Ganancial said the Japanese donation helped his troops enhance their skills that will enable them to save more lives during natural calamities, accidents, or other emergencies.

A capability demonstration showcasing the disaster-response skills of 525ECB personnel capped Iwamoto's visit. (PNA)