The Tactical Operations Wing Western Mindanao, Philippine Air Force proudly served as host to this year’s Stakeholders Forum on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HADR), on 06 April 2018 at Edwin Andrews Air Base Grandstand, Sta. Maria, Zamboanga City, with Colonel Rafael M. Alunan III PA (GSC) (Res) as the Guest of Honor and Keynote Speaker.
TOW WESTMIN played a significant role, consistent to its mandate, in providing airpower to all surface forces in its AOR. We have the capability to provide Close Air Support assets and heli-lift platforms to our combat forces as exemplified in the just concluded Marawi Air Campaign. We also provide airlift and heli-lift capability to our stakeholders using our Uh-1h and C-130’s.
But aside from our military role, we also play an active part in national development and in a more specific way – in humanitarian assistance and disaster response through our Search and Rescue (SAR) missions. In fact, in the recent typhoon Vinta, TOW WESTMIN flew a total of 21 hours, 23 sorties, ferried 35 passengers, and airlifted 6,700lbs of cargoes.
Today, we take another big step to ensure the commitment of our unit and the PAF to the people of Western Mindanao through the Stakeholders Forum on HADR. We were indeed very lucky with the presence of our Subject Matter Experts (SME) who explained and elaborated on substantive topics regarding PAF capabilities in SAR, Region 9’s disaster response plan, and our highly esteemed Keynote Speaker who discussed on the Philippine Disaster Management Plan. We also had a SAR Capability Demo which was performed by our SAR pilots, crews, our reservists, and other rescue units here in Western Mindanao.
This Stakeholders Forum activity initiated by the TOW WESTMIN featured distinguished speakers on the discussion regarding “Region IX HADR Plan” including Brigadier General Leoncio A Cirunay Jr. AFP (Res); Director, Office of Civil Defense; Chairperson, NDRRMC Region IX; and Colonel Frederick M. Cutler PAF (GSC), Group Commander, 505th Search and Rescue Group on “PAF Capability in HADR”.
The Stakeholders Forum was attended by representatives from the Local Government Units, Non- Government Organization, and different stakeholders from Zamboanga City.