Philippine Army, Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force commence joint HADR exercise

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The Philippine Army and Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) formally opened the first-ever Japan-Philippines Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HADR) Training Exercise on Tuesday, 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.

Following the inaugural ceremony, a crew from 525ECB showed the unit’s collapsed structure search and rescue (CSSR) capabilities. The team used tactics for locating, stabilizing, and extricating persons trapped underneath fallen structures.

The joint HADR practical exercises between the 51EBde’s 525th Engineering Combat Battalion and the JGSDF’s 43rd Infantry Regiment will begin today, November 17, at the venue.

Last month, Department of Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana, Army Commanding General, and now AFP Chief Staff Lt. Gen. Andres Centino, acquired HADR equipment worth 46 million pesos from the Japanese government. Lifeboats, life vests, and search and rescue equipment sets have now been added to the Philippine Army’s HADR assets.

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