Wednesday, March 13, 2013

HUMANITARIAN MISSION | AFP deploys more assets to Basulta to serve Sabah evacuees

From InterAksyon (mar 13): HUMANITARIAN MISSION | AFP deploys more assets to Basulta to serve Sabah evacuees

Philippine Navy commandos by their patrol craft at the pier in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi. (photo courtesy of Task Force Tabang Basulta)

With Filipino evacuees continuing to flee the violence in Sabah, the Armed Forces of the Philippines has deployed more assets to the Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi area, or Basulta, to provide humanitarian aid.

In a statement, AFP spokesman Colonel Arnulfo Burgos said 34 Navy ships have already been sent south, both to undertake maritime patrols and provide humanitarian assistance to the evacuees.

The Philippine Air Force has also placed its lone C-130 plane on standby to transport relief goods from Zamboanga City to Tawi-Tawi, where most of the evacuees have landed before heading to their hometowns.

The Philippine Navy vessel AT 291 departed Zamboanga City on Tuesday to deliver relief goods and 15 drums of fuel to Jolo and Tawi-Tawi.

Another Navy ship, the BRP Sultan Kudarat, ferried more than 500 evacuees from Taganak Island in the Turtle Islands to Bongao, Tawi-Tawi.

"While the transport of evacuees is ongoing, our troops on the ground continue to provide sea marshaling to all commercial vessels traveling from Zamboanga Pier to Suba-Nipa-Margosastubig, Lamitan, Isabela, Jolo and Tawi-Tawi to ensure the safety and security of the passengers," Burgos said.

The AFP also has mobile patrols at Wee Ben Pier, Tres Marias Pier and Hadji Taja Pier, all in Zamboanga City, and at Tumalutab Island and Sacol Island Pier.

Marine Battalion Landing Teams are also monitoring and patrolling the coastlines and securing all ports in the area.

The AFP has also stepped up intelligence monitoring in the Basulta area, Burgos said.

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