From: Defence Media Centre
Sent: Fri 29/11/2013 4:44 PM

Townsville soldiers commence recovery tasking in the Philippines

Townsville-based soldiers from the 3rd Combat Engineer Regiment (3CER) have hit the ground running in the Philippines, cleaning up the Cogon Central School in Ormoc that was severely damaged by Typhoon Haiyan.

After a day of offloading equipment, stores and personnel from HMAS Tobruk in an amphibious operation, the Officer Commanding the Recovery Support Force (RSF), Major Ken Golder, said the engineers had commenced their mission tasks with the clean up and restoration of the local school.

“Within 12 hours of having a meeting with the Department of Education and DFAT Aid, Australian soldiers have been able to start work to help the City of Ormoc,” Major Golder said.

“Soldiers within the RSF are pleased to work with locals in rebuilding some community facilities.”

The RSF is made up of approximately 100 soldiers and engineer equipment and is able to conduct quick impact clean-up projects that aim to help local Philippine government recovery efforts.

Lance Corporal Dan Jarret, a section Second in Command, said that the assistance tasks fit well with the capabilities that 3CER can provide.

“Our Regiment is made up a number of different elements such as field engineers, tradies (electricians, plumbers and carpenters), and also plant operators that can use the bulldozers and excavators,” Lance Corporal Jarret said.

“So we’re able to provide a good range of support on the ground for a variety of different tasks.”

Ms Nilda Dejano a local Barangay (District) Captain, in Ormoc city said she was very happy that Australian soldiers were helping them clean and fix the school.

“Thank you very much, and more power to you,” she said.

The Australian Joint Task Force will continue to determine future tasks in conjunction with the Government of the Philippines through the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

HMAS Tobruk is currently anchored off the coast of the Philippines and is supporting recovery operations with amphibious and aviation elements.

Media Note: Imagery of Operation PHILIPPINES ASSIST is available at: http://www.defence.gov.au/operations/philippinesassist/home.asp

Still imagery, when available, can be accessed from the above link.

Vision will be fed to the Parliamentary Press Gallery.

Interview requests

Interviews with members of the Joint Task Force 630, HMAS Tobruk and Australian Air Component currently deployed to Philippines can be arranged through Defence Media Operations or locally through the below contacts.

Military Public Affairs – Cebu and Ormoc, Philippines

• Major Christopher Linden +61 427 076 428 or +63 9065 727 132
• Flight Lieutenant Michael Moroney +61 401 176 345 or +63 9267 230 850

Media contact:
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999