Japan gifts Army with new rescue tools
MANILA, Philippines — The Japanese government gifted the Philippine Army with some P46.6 million worth of brand-new equipment to further boost its disaster response capability.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Army chief Lt. Gen Andres Centino received on Wednesday the equipment in simple rites at the Army’s Fort Bonifacio headquarters in Taguig City.
Japan, represented by Ambassador Kazuhiko Koshikawa, donated humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR) equipment, including lifeboats and vests, chainsaws, digging tools, lighting apparatus with generators, and other items used in search and rescue operations.
According to Lorenzana, “While we pray that nothing will require their use in the near future, we are comforted by the fact that our Armed Forces is better equipped to respond to our people’s call for help in any eventuality.”
For his part, Centino expressed his appreciation for the HADR equipment which is seen to complement and further develop the Army’s capabilities.
“We in the Philippine Army extend our sincerest gratitude to the government of Japan. Your trust and support to our organization truly inspire us better to perform our duties and responsibilities as public servants,” Centino said.
The HADR equipment will be turned over to the Army’s 51st Engineering Brigade, the standby disaster response unit in Metro Manila and neighboring areas.
The donation is part of Japan’s capability-building assistance to the Philippines.
In the same vein, Australian Ambassador Steven Robinson said Canberra was also working with the Philippine government on Philippine Civil Maritime Security Program, a new program that would strengthen Manila’s capabilities to protect its waters.
“We’re keen to commence this as quickly as we can because we think there is significant utility in this for the Philippines, particularly on the civil side,” he told reporters. Robinson previously visited Palawan where he met with the military’s Western Command and the Philippine Coast Guard and discussed firsthand the challenges they faced and how Australia could support them.
“One way is by expanding our engagement on maritime cooperation through a new Philippine Civil Maritime Security Program, which aims to support the Philippines to strengthen its civil maritime security,” he said.