DND plans to acquire search, rescue, retrieval equipment for Navy, Coast GuardBy Frances Mangosing
MANILA, Philippines—The Department of National Defense on Wednesday said it is planning to acquire new equipment to boost its search and retrieval capabilities for the Philippine Navy and Coast Guard.
Defense Secretary and National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Chairman Voltaire Gazmin said the equipment needed includes Sonar, which can detect metal under the sea, as well as remote operated vehicles.
“Nakita natin ito ‘yong pagkukulang natin during the search and rescue kay Secretary Robredo (We realized our deficiency during the search and rescue efforts for Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo),” Gazmin said.
During the search for the bodies of Robredo and pilots Captain Jessup Bahinting, owner of the ill-fated plane, and Nepalese co-pilot Kshitiz Chand, the government borrowed some of its needed equipment from civilian groups and United States government.
Gazmin said that while these items were not part of the modernization efforts of the Armed Forces, these equipment were not that expensive, adding that the government is capable of buying the equipment.
“Itong listahang ito ay ipapakita ko kay Presidente at hihingi ako ng tulong upang sa ganun masuportahan n’ya yung pagprocure nitong mga gamit na ito (We will show this list to the President and we will ask for help to support the procurement of these equipment),” he said.
“Nakausap ko yung mga Amerikano hindi naman masyadong mahal at kayang kaya natin bilhin itong mga gamit na ito at importante rin yung training upang sa ganun ay maayos yung paggamit pagka kinakailangan (We talked with the Americans and we learned these equipment are not that expensive, we can afford them. What’s important is the training so when the time comes we will use them properly and efficiently),” he said.
He added the government also needs to train more technical divers, or those who could dive a depth of 200 feet or more.
But Gazmin also lauded Task Force Kalihim, the organized group to locate Robredo and his companions.
“Napakagaling at naipakita nila ‘yung dedication, commitment na ma-accomplish ang kanilang mission kaya walang outstanding na isa, kundi (It’s good they were able to show their dedication and commitment to accomplish their mission that’s why there’s no one who is outstanding because) it was a total team effort, Coast Guard, Philippine Navy, Philippine Army, Phil Air Force, at saka yung mga civilian na tumulong, both foreigners at saka yung mga local (and the civilians who helped, both local and foreign),” he said.
“Ang plano namin dito sa NDRRMC ay kunin lahat yung listahan ng mga taong nakatulong dun sa search and rescue kay Sec Robredo at bibigyan natin ng appreciation, yung nauugma dun sa kanilang nagawa (Our plan here in NDRRMC is to get the list of those who helped in the search and rescue operations of Secretary Robredo so we can give them appreciation (tokens), the one that would fit them),” he also said.
Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo and his companions were killed in a plane crash off the waters of Masbate on August 18. Robredo’s body was found three days later, some 800 meters from the shoreline at a depth of 180 feet.