SAF airlifts relief aid to the Philippines

SAF personnel and Philippine army soldiers unloading aid supplies at Laguindingan International Airport on Aug 7, 2017.
SAF personnel and Philippine army soldiers unloading aid supplies at Laguindingan International Airport on Aug 7, 2017.PHOTO: FACEBOOK/NG ENG HEN

SINGAPORE - Humanitarian supplies worth $100,000 were airlifted to the Philippines on Monday (Aug 7) to provide relief aid to displaced civilians affected by the ongoing tensions in Marawi in southern Philippines.

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen posted on his Facebook page at about 3.30pm on Monday that a Republic of Singapore Air Force C-130 transport plane, which had left Singapore at 6am, had arrived at Laguindingan International Airport in the Philippines.

The aircraft carried items donated by the Singapore Armed Forces and the Singapore Red Cross.

The relief package included medical supplies, food, tents, blankets, and water filtration devices.

These were later handed over to representatives from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Office of Civil Defence by Colonel Lee Kuan Chung, director of the SAF's Changi Regional Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Coordination Centre, and Mr Nazeer Basir from the Singapore Red Cross.

A photo of the small ceremony was posted on Dr Ng's Facebook, showing Col Lee together with AFP's assistant division commander of the 4th Infantry Division, Brigadier-General Cristobal Zaragosa.

In a Mindef press release, the SAF said the efforts "follow Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's in-principle acceptance of the SAF's offer of assistance to the Philippines" made during Dr Ng's visit to the Philippines in July (2017).

Dr Ng had offered the use of the SAF's urban training facility for AFP troops, and a detachment of unmanned aerial vehicles to enhance the AFP's intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, Mindef said.