Members of the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) visited the Philippine Army (PA) headquarters in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City last April 6 to assess and evaluate its disaster response preparedness and capability.
INSARAG is a network of countries and organizations dedicated to urban search and rescue and operational field coordination.
PA chief-of-staff Brig. Gen. Robert Arevalo welcomed the INSARAG Scoping Mission Team, which was headed by Yosuke Okita.
"We are not here to judge you. We are here to support you," Okita said.
In his speech, Arevalo underscored the importance of increasing professional excellence in disaster response and humanitarian assistance.
"Our country will greatly benefit in this INSARAG mission, being a country besiege by typhoons and disasters yearly. This INSARAG capacity assessment mission will definitely widen our understanding and appreciation on the future of disaster response and the needed strategies that will further enhance capabilities," he added.
The 525th Engineering Combat Battalion, the PA's designated disaster response unit, conducted a capability demonstration to showcase its urban search and rescue capabilities.
Meanwhile, the PA continues to develop, organize, train, equip, support and sustain Army forces for the conduct of prompt and sustained humanitarian assistance and disaster response.