Troops deployed to assist landslide-hit areas

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ZAMBOANGA CITY: Soldiers from the Philippine Army’s 1st Infantry Division were deployed to Lanao del Sur and Zamboanga del Sur to help local authorities clear the roads affected by landslides, officials told The ManilaTimes on Thursday.

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No casualty was reported but the landslides disrupted traffic flow in Lanao del Sur’s Calanugas town, especially along the highway in the village of Bubongaranao.

Soldiers from the 51st Infantry Battalion led by Lt. Col. Cornelio Aboleda worked alongside the Department of Public Works and Highways in clearing the road of debris.

Arboleda said they are coordinating with the Provincial and Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council for future preparation and planning to mitigate the effects of disaster in Lanao del Sur, one of five province under the Muslim autonomous region.

A landslide also occurred in the village of Tubod in Lakewood town in Zamboanga del Sur and troops from the 53rd Infantry Battalion headed by Lt. Col. Alvin Luzon were also sent to the area.

Brig. Gen. Gerardo Barrientos Jr., commander of 1st Infantry Division, said troops have been ordered to stay alert to be able to quickly respond to emergency and disasters or calamities.

“The assistance extended by the Tabak troopers showcased the multi-faceted role of the Philippine Army both in combat and non-combat or non-traditional roles particularly the humanitarian assistance and disaster response. The Division is currently crafting comprehensive contingency planning for humanitarian assistance and disaster response to mitigate the devastating effects of calamities. All units are ready to shift from combat mode to humanitarian assistance and disaster response mode anytime as the need arises,” Barrientos said.

Army spokesman Capt. Franco Suelto said the 1st Infantry Division is continuously undertaking steps to improve its humanitarian assistance and disaster response capabilities.

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