Albay sends humanitarian mission to Bohol
LEGAZPI CITY, Albay – An 80-member humanitarian mission from Albay has departed for Bohol, the province hardest hit by Tuesday’s magnitude-7.2 earthquake. Aside from rescue and medical equipment, the team brings with it a water-purifying machine.
The humanitarian undertaking will cover areas in Bohol that were devastated by the killer quake, Rafael Bernardo Alejandro, director of the Office of Civil Defense in Bicol, said in a telephone interview Thursday.
Alejandro said the mission left in two batches. The first, mostly medical and disaster response experts, left Wednesday aboard a Navy vessel, while the second batch, mostly technical personnel, left by commercial plane on Thursday for Tagbilaran City.
The mission is composed of medical, sanitary and social welfare personnel from the Albay Public Safety Emergency and Management Office (Apsemo), Provincial Social Welfare Office, Department of Health, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and OCD.
The team will provide medical, water and sanitary services to the affected communities, Alejandro said. The team brought along a water-purifying machine that is capable of producing thousands of liters of potable water for distribution to residents, he added.
Albay Gov. Joey Salceda, in a statement appearing on his Facebook account Thursday, said the Team Albay-OCD has helped in relief and rehabilitation work in various places throughtout the country stricken by calamities during the last five years.
The mission to Bohol is actually the group’s 10th such deployment outside Albay, Salceda said, noting it had served in such places as Cagayan, Isabela, Catanduanes, Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental as well as in the cities of Cagayan de Oro and even in Metro Manila.
Aside from sending the humanitarian mission, Albay is to extend cash assistance of P500,000 each to the provinces of Bohol and Cebu, which are sister provinces of Albay, Salceda said. The mission will probably last for 10 days, depending on the needs, Salceda added.
“This is part of the payback of Albay and Bicol to all that helped them when they needed assistance. Most of all, this is part of the actual laboratory work of the team, as part of their constant practice and application of their knowledge and skills,” he said.
Salceda said the team includes search-and-rescue crews from the Bureau of Fire Protection and Tactical Operations Group 5 of the Philippine Air Force; health personnel from the government-run Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital and the Provincial Health Office; and a water sanitation team from the Provincial Engineering Office and the PHO sanitation personnel.
“These are experts and skilled in this field of missionary work from the Albay Provincial Safety and Emergency Monitoring Office (Apsemo), Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office, PHO-Albay Health and Emergency Monitoring team, Department of Health-Bicol regional office and the Team Armed Forces of the Philippines,” Salceda said.
“When the teams come back to the province, what they would learn in helping other areas will certainly help them in times of necessity,” Salceda stressed.