SBMA starts relief drive for Japan quake/tsunami victims
SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has initiated relief efforts for the thousands of Japanese victims left homeless by a magnitude 8.9 earthquake that hit Japan on March 11 and also triggered a tsunami that devastated coastal provinces there.
SBMA administrator Armand Arreza said he has already called on all business locators in this free port for donations that will be sent to the victims of Japan’s twin disasters.
“In keeping with the Filipino value of malasakit, and as a gesture of support to our Japanese partners and friends in the Subic Freeport community, let us extend a helping hand to the hapless victims in whatever way we can,” Arreza said in his letter to Subic businessmen.
Arreza said that the collected donations will be turned over to the Philippine National Red Cross, which is involved in disaster relief operations in Japan.
He said the Subic initiative was made in response to President Aquino’s directive to help in humanitarian operations in Japan.
Arreza made the request hours after sending eight SBMA search and rescue operatives to join the 40-man Philippine contingent that will participate in international efforts for search and rescue and retrieval operations in Japan. The Subic operatives were composed of fire chief Ranny Magno, fire marshals Nardo Alcantara, Hedion DC. Esteban, and Romeo Paulino, and firefighters Billy Joel Capistrano, Arnel Tolero, Eliseo Yco and Romeo Dionisio, Jr.
Prior to leaving for Japan, Magno said it was the first time that the SBMA would be sending a rescue team in the international arena.
“It is an honor for the SBMA Search and Rescue Group and for the SBMA family, in general, that the national government recognizes our capability and preparedness,” Magno said. “This is history for the SBMA.”
The Filipino rescuers will be deployed somewhere in the northern part of Tokyo, outside the 20-kilometer danger zone to retrieve bodies which are still trapped under tons of debris left by the tsunami.
With regards to their own safety due to feared radiation from damaged nuclear plants in the area, Magno said that members of the Philippine team, especially those from the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Bureau of Fire Protection, have the equipment to detect the presence of radiation.
If radiation was detected, the Filipino rescuers will be transferred to a safer place, he said. (30)