Military reservists will be tapped to assist in the post-disaster response operations in Cagayan Valley.

Maj. Gen. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr., commander of the Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom), said on November 18, 2020, that mobilization is already taking place and that the deployment of reserve units from Northern and Central Luzon are expected within this week.

Top photo: ULYSSES AFTERMATH. Aerial photo shows the aftermath of Typhoon Ulysses along Cagayan Valley. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte conducted aerial inspections of severely affected areas in Cagayan Valley and Bicol Region on Nov. 15, 2020. (Presidential photo by Ace Morandante)

Burgos said the reservists will be complementing the deployed strategic assets of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Cagayan Valley as the military gears to expedite their operations.

He also said that the reservists will be placed under the Joint Task Force Tala, Nolcom’s operating arm in Region 2, which is working in close coordination with the Emergency Operations Center of Cagayan Valley’s Office of Civil Defense as well as the governors of Cagayan and Isabela through their Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office.

Burgos described the reservists as the Philippines’ strategic reserve in terms of human resource, “thus, by sending them to ground zero, we will have enough manpower in the frontlines as efforts begin to transition to recovery and rehabilitation”.

This, he added, is similar to the model that the government used in Batangas after Taal’s explosion “thereby allowing our combat forces to ensure the safety of the people and communities in this part of the country through their security operations”.

Brig. Gen. Ferdinand Fraginal, commander of AFP Reserve Command, said in a statement that “the reserve force is at all times ready to heed the call of our beloved motherland be it in the defense of her flag during war or simply to be by the side of her devastated people in times of calamities”.

Fraginal said that immediately after the initial planning meeting with General Burgos, he already tasked the Regional Community Defense Groups within Nolcom’s area of responsibility to muster the reservists and deploy them within 24 hours.

“They are civilians who volunteered to don military uniforms not for the pay, not for the benefits but only for the privilege of serving as a soldier under our flag, for our country, and in the defense of the Filipino people,” he said. (Zorayda Tecson, PNA)