The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) urged rebel forces not to attack soldiers bringing aid to victims of the earthquake that hit Surigao del Norte province on Friday.
“We urge you not to attack our soldiers, or in any other way disrupt the AFP’s rescue and rehabilitation activities for our people,” AFP public affairs office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo said Saturday.
“Allow the soldiers every opportunity to help the victims of the earthquake,” he added.
Government forces and the New People’s Army (NPA) are again engaged in combat following the rebels withdrawal of its unilateral ceasefire.
Following the magnitude 6.7 earthquake that rocked Surigao, 4th Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr. immediately deployed his men to assist the victims of the quake and conduct initial damage assessment.
Meanwhile, 30th Infantry Battalion commander Lt. Col. Rico Amaro coordinated with the respective risk reduction and management offices of Surigao del Norte and Surigao City for disaster response operations.
“Troops, the vehicle and the ambulance of the 30th Infantry Battalion were prepositioned for casualty evacuation and the evacuation of affected families,” Arevalo said.
The 402nd Infantry Brigade headed by Col. Franco Nemesio Gacal also went to Surigao City for a disaster emergency meeting.
“(The headquarters of the) 402nd Infantry Brigade alerted additional troops and vehicles for possible complementary disaster response operations in the affected areas in Surigao del Norte,” Arevalo said.