MANILA–As it celebrates its 120th founding anniversary Tuesday, the 10-division strong Philippine Army (PA) has definitely proven itself a valuable ally in nation-building as it remains one of the primary pillars of the military’s humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) responders.
Army spokesperson Col. Benjamin Hao attributed their creditable HADR performance to the fact that it is one of their primary missions as stipulated by the Department of National Defense (DND).
“The reasons for it: first, that is part of our mission based on the guidance of the DND; second, we always learn from actual experiences on the ground and document the best practices; and lastly, it fits our battlecry – ‘Serving the People. Securing the Land’,” he added.
Incidentally, the PA’s 525th Engineering Combat Battalion, which is based in Libis, Quezon City, will be one of the first units deployed should a major disaster strike in Metro Manila and its environment.
The 525th Engineering Combat Battalion is the Army’s premier HADR unit.
An engineering battalion consists of around 500 to 1,000 officers and enlisted personnel.
It is equipped with a variety of bulldozers, backhoes and other heavy construction equipment.
The 525th Engineering Combat Battalion was one of the first military units deployed to Leyte during the aftermath of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” in Nov. 8, 2013.
Together with units of the Catbalogan-based 8th Infantry Division, the 525th Engineering Combat Battalion helped cleared roads leading to Tacloban City and other parts of Leyte of debris.
As this develops, President Rodrigo Duterte will lead the traditional military parade and review in PA headquarters in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City for the Army’s 120th founding anniversary Tuesday.
Hao said the Army anniversary is celebrated every March 22, but this year’s parade and review was moved to this day to accommodate the availability of all stakeholders.
Present in the anniversary activities were DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Armed Forces chief-of-staff Gen. Eduardo M. Año, and PA commander, Lt. Gen. Glorioso V. Miranda.
Troops from the Army’s 2nd Infantry Division, 7th Infantry Division, Special Operations Command, Army Reserve Command, 51st Engineering Brigade, a company-size all female contingent, and an Army K-9 unit will compose the parading troops who will showcase the PA’s various capabilities.
The PA will also showcase its wheeled- and tracked-armored vehicles, ambulances, and Army engineering and HADR equipment.
The Philippine Army was founded in March 22, 1897 through the Tejeros convention. The Army currently has 85,000 strong men and women dedicated to serve the people and secure the land.