The Philippine government on Wednesday deployed a Lockheed C-130 “Hercules” cargo aircraft full of relief goods and other materials to earthquake and tsunami-ravaged Indonesia.
Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who was present during the send-off ceremonies at Villamor Air Base, Pasay City, said the C-130 mission is in response to the request for aid by the Indonesian government.
“This is just a request by the Indonesian government if we could provide some humanitarian assistance for the victims of the earthquake in Palu, so this request has been given to us I think last week and it took us a a while to prepare for the goods as I said a while ago we could have reacted earlier but we had also disasters here in the Philippines (a reference to Typhoon ‘Ompong’ which ravaged several provinces in Northern Luzon last month), lately up to know, we are still retrieving some bodies at the landslides,” he added.
The Philippine Air Force C-130 carries six water filtration units, six generators, 100 tents, 4,400 assorted sleeping kits.
“I think we are also donating some amount, I don’t know the exact amount that the government will give to the Government of Indonesia to be used for the rehabilitation of (earthquake and tsunami-hit) Palu,” the DND chief said.
Lorenzana said that a second C-130 sortie is scheduled on Oct. 15.
“The C-130 (and its crew) will be staying there (Indonesia) for quite some time to help in the ferrying of goods,” he added.
When asked if the Philippines will be deploying any manpower for the ongoing rehabilitation efforts in Indonesia, Lorenzana said this will depend on the Indonesian government.
“(We) will wait for the request of the Indonesian government if they want people from us to help in the rehabilitation,” the DND chief added.
The DND chief, however, clarified that the Philippines will not be involved in the ongoing retrieval operations.
The magnitude 7.5 earthquake which struck Sulawesi, Indonesia took place last Sept. 28 killed an estimated 2,000 people and destroyed 7,000 houses aside from triggering a six meter-tsunami.
Budi Dhewajani, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Indonesian Embassy to the Philippines, expressed gratitude for the aid being provided by Manila.
“We thank, as I have mentioned earlier, we thank the government and the people of the Philippines for all the condolence and assistance when my government (requested) for international support, the Philippine government quickly responded (to) assist us in this difficult situation,” she added. (PNA/Priam Nepomuceno)