Air Force, Navy: First responders vs COVID-19 in the air, at sea

/ 08:55 PM May 06, 2020

MANILA, Philippines—First responders are commonly imagined as first aid givers in hazmat suits emerging from their ambulances.

But first responders are up in the skies or afloat at sea, too.


At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippine Air Force and Navy have been heavily using their planes and ships.

Though modest when compared to what other countries have, the two Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) services had played crucial roles in transporting critical supplies to support the war on COVID-19.


The AFP said at least 1 million lbs of goods, items, material, medical supplies had been transported by plane or ship since March.

The two C-130s of the PAF had gone on 100 sorties and spent 232 flying hours to bring more than 700,000 lbs of essential cargo.

The PAF’s medium lift transport plane, the C-295, has logged 178 sorties and transported over 150,000 lbs of cargo.

Other aircraft being used in the war on COVID-19 are two N-22 Nomads, two NC-212i light lift planes, two SF260, one F28, and two UH helicopters, the AFP said.

The Philippine Navy recently hauled medical supplies from China using its logistics vessel BRP Bacolod City.

BRP Ramon Alcaraz and BRP Davao Del Sur, ships that were deployed to Oman earlier this year to help repatriate Filipino workers in danger of getting caught in the crossfire between the US and Iran, stopped over in India in late April to pick up donations before returning to the Philippines.

The ships BRP Tausug, BRP, Batak, BRP Agta, BRP Manobo, and BRP Subanon are also on standby for possible deployment.


On land, soldiers are helping policemen enforce quarantine checkpoints. They have also been manning major quarantine facilities put up by the government in response to the pandemic. They are also playing a key role in transporting essential workers during the lockdown.

“We are thankful to and are proud of all our pilots, sailors, aircraft crew, and maintenance personnel for their tireless work and sacrifice in support to (sic) our national COVID-19 efforts,” AFP chief Gen. Felimon Santos Jr. said.

A total of 27,066 AFP men are currently deployed to perform different roles in the war on COVID-19.

As of Wednesday (May 6) afternoon, the Philippines has recorded at least 10,000 COVID-19 cases, with 1,506 recoveries and 658 deaths.

Edited by TSB

For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

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