CATBALOGAN CITY -- The Region 8 Task Force ELCAC through the AFP’s Joint Task Force “Storm” launched an interagency response dubbed as “Bulig Leyte”.
Having seen the extent of damage to houses in Southern Leyte, the AFP’s JTF (Army, Air Force, and Navy) organized 28 carpentry teams of soldiers.
They were sent off from JTF Storm headquarters in Catbalogan City on December 21 as part of the rehabilitation mission of RTF8 ELCAC "Bulig Leyte".
According to JTF Storm spokesman Cpt Ryan Layug, Joint Task Force Storm Commander Major General Edgardo De Leon ordered the deployment to assist the LGUs and the residents of severely affected municipalities in Southern Leyte.
"As early as December 14, our units have been coordinating with provincial and municipal DRRMOs. We have been on red alert for humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR) mission. Our first responders were already in the communities assisting the LGUs even during the pre-emptive evacuation. Our carpentry teams are part of the 2nd wave that is more focused now on relief and rehabilitation missions," Layug said.
Major General De Leon said, "Our Panday Han Sinirangang Bisayas (Carpenters of Eastern Visayas) are not army engineers, but carpentry-skilled foot soldiers repurposed to help repair damaged homes. Instead of their issued rifles, they are now equipped with hammer, chain saw, shovel and other basic carpentry tools. This help shall be temporary as more sustainable and better assistance of the government are enroute to eastern Visayas."
"Our teams are not intended to construct new homes, they will help residents repair shelters, particularly walls for toilets and roofs of homes. Basic na pangangailangan lang talaga. They would help remove debris along roads and help facilitate quick delivery of service to our people. First aid po ito habang paparating pa ang mga heavy equipment galing sa DPWH, provincial engineers as well as from AFP engineers. While we have the manpower and limited tools, we appeal for volunteers to join the efforts as well as donors willing to provide used wood, used roofing materials, trapal, used tarps and laminated sacks that could be easily installed in damaged homes,” De Leon added.
MGen. De Leon has designated his Assistant Division Commander, Col. Erwin Lamzon, as the head of JTF Storm’s Bulig Leyte task to oversee the efficient delivery of services.
For donations and coordination, the JTF Storm Bulig Leyte can be reached through the following contact details:
For NCR, Luzon and Mindanao
TF Bulig Leyte Operations Center (Catbalogan City)
0956 711 6048
For Northern Samar
803rd Infantry Brigade
For Tacloban City
Tactical Operations Group 8
09175082039 and 09338122754
For Ormoc City
802nd Infantry Brigade
09173199820 and 09285549320
Naval Task Group 2
09058057978 and 09662195035
8th Regional Community Defense Group
Tactical Operations Group
09175082039 and 09338122754
Task Force Operation Bulig Center
546 Engineering Battalion
09175248709 and 09988634586