From the Visayan Daily Star (Nov 20): Air Force maximizing helicopter flying time
Pilots and crew members of the UH-IH Air Force helicopters stationed in the Western Visayas are maximizing flying time to deliver relief goods to victims of super typhoon Yolanda, especially in island barangays of the region.
The Air Force Tactical Operations Group 6 in Western Visayas was augmented by four Huey helicopters from Zamboanga, recently used by Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. for an aerial inspection and delivery of relief goods to island barangays in northern Negros, and as far as Bantayan in Cebu.
Lt. Col. Bobby Calub, TOG 6 commander, who supervises the aerial relief operations in Panay and Negros, said he has observed that pilots are performing aerial sorties for relief distribution even beyond meal time.
This is because typhoon victims in island and hinterland barangays of Panay and Negros have no food.
We are maximizing flying time to deliver enough food for them, Calub said.
After the super typhoon hit Western Visayas, Air Force helicopters have been dispatched several times a day to deliver relief goods.
On Monday, members of the Peace Advocates of Negros, and Lulu Tizon, of the government negotiating panel talking peace with the National Democratic Front, met the Air Force pilots and thanked them for their efforts in bringing relief goods to hard-to-reach areas of northern Negros.
Even members of the Philippine Army and Navy, whose families are also victims of the typhoon, are involved in relief efforts.
Army Cpl. Elmer Solis, who is drives an M35 truck in delivering goods, said the victims are thankful when they see the military trucks coming.
Solis recalled that an old lady jumped in extraordinary joy in Passi City, Iloilo, when she discovered some clothing in the pack she received.
Asked why she was so happy, Solis said the woman told him that all her clothes were all gone after the typhoon.
He quoted the old woman as saying “Thank you so much, you’re such a blessing.”
Solis told her that that the goods did not come from him, that he just drove the truck to their place.
“It doesn’t matter, you’re doing such an enormous service to people like us,” the old woman replied.
For Solis, it somehow relieves his exhaustion from the continuous relief operations to see people so happy and thankful for the efforts of the Army.
Petty Officer 1 Samuel Arnaldo, Boat Captain of DF 352 of the Philippine Navy, with other sailors, were the first responders in Northern Panay, particularly in Estancia, Iloilo. Arnaldo recounted the situation of the people who were so hungry, they rushed towards them, knowing that they were bringing relief goods for them.
Though Arnaldo’s family in Roxas City was also affected by the super typhoon, Major Ray Tiongson, 3rd Infantry Division spokesman, said Arnaldo continued to perform his duty after learning that more people in the island barangays of Manipolon, Togigunot, Sicogon and Bayas in northern Panay needed food, water and clothing.
Maj. Gen. Aurelio Baladad, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, said in statement he issued, “We can see the excellent result of Bayanihan, not only among us Filipinos, but also in working together with our counterparts in other countries”, apparently referring to Candian and Indonesian armed forces, who are now in Panay island.
Baladad called on other stakeholders to work with them, in order to save more lives.