The Philippine Army and Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force formally opened the first-ever Japan-Philippines Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HADR) Training Exercise today, November 16, at the Mandirigtas Training Area, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.
Japanese Ministry of Defense representative Maika Saito and Col. Yu Nakano, Japan’s defense attache to the Philippines and Col. Jt Bajet, Commander of the Army’s 51st Engineer Brigade (51EBde), graced the event.
“We in the 51st Engineer Brigade and 525th Engineering Combat Battalion will roll up our sleeves and take more actions in preparing and capacitating our troops,” Col. Bajet said in his remarks. As the Philippine Army’s primary disaster response unit, 525ECB is committed to preventing loss of lives and mitigating disasters through effective HADR operations,” he added.
Meanwhile, a team from 525ECB demonstrated the unit’s collapsed structure search and rescue (CSSR) capabilities following the opening ceremony. The team performed techniques necessary for locating, stabilizing, and extricating victims trapped within collapsed structures.
The 525th Engineering Combat Battalion of the 51EBde and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s (JGSDF) 43rd Infantry Regiment will start the joint HADR practical exercises tomorrow, November 17, at the venue.
Last month, DND Sec. Delfin Lorenzana, Army Commanding General, and now AFP Chief Staff Lt. Gen. Andres Centino, received 46 million pesos worth of HADR equipment donations from the Japanese government. The equipment such as lifeboats, life vests, search and rescue equipment sets are now part of the Philippine Army’s HADR assets.