US forces can respond within 24 hours should calamities strike PHL

By on May 17, 2017


American forces can deploy units to help the country's military forces within 24 hours in case a massive disaster hits the Philippines. (Photo: Defence Images/Flickr)
American forces can deploy units to help the country’s military forces within 24 hours in case a massive disaster hits the Philippines. (Photo: Defence Images/Flickr)

MANILA—American forces can deploy units to help the country’s military forces within 24 hours in case a massive disaster hits the Philippines.

This was bared US Exercise Director, CPX-STAFFEX (Command Post-Staff Exercise) Combined Exercise Control Group “Balikatan” 33-17 Major Andrew Merz in an interview Wednesday.

The latter was held at the Command and General Staff College (CGSC) Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

Participating were 75 US military personnel along with 40 CGSC students.

Serving as obsevers were members of the Australian and Japanese militaries.

“In an actual disaster, the US will send several diffrent type of teams down almost immediately within 24 hours, so not only with the USA send their teams, there will be also a joint humanitarian assistance team to start coordinating with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for the initial response,” he added.

Merz added the US military will take a supporting role in this event and will provide suppot that is not readily available like lift support.

In Wednesday’s “Balikatan” drills, he said that US forces are focused on providing their AFP counterparts with general tactics, techniques and procedures that can be used in a range of operations including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) and counter-terrorism.

Scenarios played in the STAFFEX’s were HADR, which include responses to a “Category 5” typhoon which battered the Eastern Visayas, with a bit of counter-terrorism involving a hijacking incident.

These stimulated events are designed to test the AFP crisis action planning team on how quickly they can resolve the terrorist scenario so they can move on with their HADR missions.