(Photo courtesy of Philippine Air Force)

MANILA – Philippine Air Force (PAF) S-70i "Black Hawk" and Bell-412 combat utility helicopters have conducted rapid damage assessment needs analysis (RDANA) and relief missions over Cotabato and Maguindanao provinces that have been severely affected by Severe Tropical Storm Paeng.

In a statement late Monday night, PAF spokesperson Col. Ma. Consuelo Castillo said these missions were done in coordination with the 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing and Tactical Operations Group 12.

"Together with LGUs (local government units) PAF air assets performed RDANA over the barangays of Kalamansig (town), namely Barangay Dumangas Nuevo, Barangay Datu Ito Andong, Barangay Sangay, and barangays in Maguindanao namely Datu Blah Sinsuat, and BarangayPura," she added.

Castillo said these missions also included the transport of relief goods to Lebak, Palimbang, and Kalamansig which are municipalities in Sultan Kudarat Province and Datu Blah Sinsuat, Maguindanao respectively.

"The PAF is committed to sustaining relief, and search and rescue operations to ensure continued support and safety of all Filipinos affected by the typhoon," she said.

Meanwhile, the PAF's C-295 medium-lift aircraft operated by 220 Airlift Wing, in coordination with Tactical Operations Wing Central and local government units, transported family food packs from Mactan, Cebu to General Santos City Airport also on Oct. 31.

These food packs will be distributed to families in the area who were affected by the tropical storm.

Rescue, relief ops continue: PNP

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said post-disaster rescue, relief, and rehabilitation operations by police units went underway in 16 regions across the country severely affected by the tropical cyclone.

"As we speak, a maximum number of PNP personnel was engaged in multi-role functions in evacuation centers, road clearing operations, securing evacuated communities, and aid distributions to distressed households. Local PNP units are under instructions to provide necessary security and assistance to government health, aid, and public works personnel in disaster-stricken areas," PNP chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. said in a statement.

Azurin said the PNP national headquarters has alerted all Police Regional Offices, through the Area Police Commands, to keep all highways and major thoroughfares clear of debris and hazards for unhampered passage of emergency vehicles, personnel, equipment, relief supplies, and commercial cargo.

Likewise, resources and personnel of disaster response-capable National Support Units are instructed to augment affected PROs for disaster response operations in coordination with local DRRMO, LGU, and other government agencies.

"We appreciate the kindness of our fellow Filipinos in extending their help, however, we strongly encourage well-meaning NGOs, groups, and private individuals in their medical and relief assistance missions to coordinate with LGUs and government security forces before conducting their activity," Azurin added. (with Lloyd Caliwan/PNA)