WHAT WENT BEFORE Dengvaxia is worlds first dengu

first_imgWHAT WENT BEFORE: Dengvaxia is world’s first dengue vaccine View comments At the height of supertyphoon Yolanda, Espulgar with less than 50 soldiers and some family members took shelter in the conference hall, the camp’s sturdiest structure. In preparation for the typhoon, other soldiers were earlier sent as quick-response teams to strategic areas in Eastern Leyte.MORE STORIESnewsinfoWHAT WENT BEFORE: Dengvaxia is world’s first dengue vaccinenewsinfoBaybayin revival makes native PH history hipnewsinfoMartial law in Negros? Military taking cue from local execsMORE STORIESnewsinfoWHAT WENT BEFORE: Dengvaxia is world’s first dengue vaccinenewsinfoBaybayin revival makes native PH history hipnewsinfoMartial law in Negros? Military taking cue from local execs“Grabe kaayo ang hangin, madungong jud nimo ang kakusog. Kami tanan nanago sulod sa conference room didto sa suok-suok. Gilamba lamba na ang purtahan og ang mga atop nangapalid na. Nang-hilak na ang mga bata,” recalled Espulgar.(The wind was very strong, you could hear it howling. We took cover in the conference hall and hunkered down. The doors slammed back and forth and some of the roof sheets were blown away. The children were crying.)After the wind calmed down, Espulgar said he mumbled a prayer thanking the Lord that everyone in the camp, although shaken, survived.The worse thing for a commander, he said, is not knowing how your men are faring on field, if some were injured or needed help as there was total power failure with no means of communication.ADVERTISEMENT PCSO to focus on improving transparency of gaming activities PLAY LIST 03:26PCSO to focus on improving transparency of gaming activities01:39Sotto open to discuss, listen to pros and cons of divorce bill06:02Senate to probe Tolentino’s ‘novel legal theories’ on oral agreements01:50Palace open to make Dengvaxia usable again as dengue cases spike01:49House seeks probe on ‘massive corruption’ in PCSO01:37PCSO estimates P250M in Lotto revenue loss due to suspension Senate to probe Tolentino’s ‘novel legal theories’ on oral agreements Locsin wants to drop ‘visas upon arrival’ privilege Such worries combined with the devastation of his camp where debris was strewn in piles around the almost three-hectare camp.The scenes of broken houses, fallen trees, and collapsed structures including the Commando Dining Park did not completely sink in because immediately after the storm, Espulgar had to go to his superior in the 8th Infantry Division to report their situation.Three days after, Espulgar and his unit was assigned to provide security at the Ormoc City Airport for incoming relief goods and military personnel. The city airport became the alternative receiving area for food packs in Leyte province as Tacloban airport was already congested.“Fix yourself!” Espulgar ordered his men in the camp as they had no time to attend to their damaged homes. For shelter, he ordered the purchase of tarpaulins so that each family would get a five-meter-long sheet to use as a makeshift tent.AUSSIES ARRIVEEspulgar and his men provided security for US military forces that went to Ormoc City. On November 17, Australian forces arrived. Ormoc City was their chosen area for relief, medical and rehabilitation efforts.Lt. Col. Roderick Lang, the Joint Task Force 630 Commander at the helm of around 500 Australian troopers, said that they were busy with relief efforts but did simultaneous work to provide medical services for injured typhoon survivors and repair some damaged schools.“As commander to commander, Ned and I closely coordinated with each other. But beyond this official capacity, we immediately struck a real friendship,” Lang said.During one of their early morning coffee sessions, Lang learned about the destruction of the 19th IB camp.“I believed it was not fair. They (Espulgar and his men) were providing us security and nobody was there to help them. We have the capacity to help so we should help. It’s part of the brotherhood in the military,” Lang said. On November 25, Lang asked his Filipino colleague if the Australians could visit his camp. There, they saw the extent of the wreckage.The next day, Lang ordered some of his men to work in shifts to help clear the camp. For the next three days, Australian troops used their hands to clear the camp of mounds of debris before a tractor and equipment arrived. The volume of debris collected from the camp could fill 28 truckloads, said Major Ken Golder, commander of the Recovery Support Force of the Royal Australian Engineers.“Even if we spent two months, we could not have been able to clear the camp of the debris on our own,” Espulgar said.Australian troops also repaired the roof of the communal comfort room and guard house. Put up a flagpole and installed two signages at the camp entrance. They also repaired the water system and totally changed the pipes.They also rebuilt the Commando Dining Park which Lang said they decided to construct anew because this was a place to foster the spirit of brotherhood.Asked how much was spent, Lang replied, “It is not the cost that matters. What’s most important is that we were able to help our military counterparts when they needed it the most.”Lang said he admired the Filipino commander for always being on the lookout for the welfare of his men.Espulgar in turn described his Australian colleague as “madaling makikisama” (easy to get along with).It took nine days to clear the area and build the mess haul with five days of actual construction.Much still needs to be done but for Espulgar, the 19th IB camp is in even better shape now after the typhoon. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Tolentino: No more debate with Drilon on China deal It was a home they considered their own, where soldiers bond together fostering the spirit of military brotherhood by eating side by side in their newly built mess hall.However, all this was shattered in a few hours when fierce winds of super storm Yolanda wiped out the headquarters of the 9th Infantry Battalion (IB) in barangay Aguiting, Kananga, Leyte province on the fateful early morning of November 8.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ It’s time to consider taking sea row to UN – Del Rosario Baybayin revival makes native PH history hip Lt. Col. Nedy Espulgar, the commander, grimly surveyed the damage in the camp. The roof of the main office and conference hall was torn apart. Several trees were uprooted. The guard house was in shambles, the flagpole had toppled.Not one of the 95 houses of his soldiers, some of whom lived with their families in the camp, was standing.FEATURED STORIESNEWSINFOSenate to probe Tolentino’s ‘novel legal theories’ on oral agreementsNEWSINFOLocsin wants to drop ‘visas upon arrival’ privilegeNEWSINFOIndian coffee magnate’s body found by riverThe mess hall dubbed the Commando Dining Park built with his men when he took over as a new commander in July lay flat on the ground.Just a day before, the mess hall was officially blessed after being used two weeks earlier. November 1 was the battalion’s anniversary. “I didn’t know how to begin the work because we would have to start from scratch. We could not even move because we first had to respond to the needs of typhoon victims with the distribution of relief packs,” said Espulgar.On December 15, the Commando Dining Park was blessed anew to coincide with a farewell party for the Australian troops due to leave the country. Colonel Dinoh Dolina, 802nd Infantry Brigade Commander joined over 200 Filipino and Australian troopers who started the event with fun games such as shooting, basketball and tug-of-war. A late lunch followed with lechon and chicken barbecue.While their humanitarian mission is over, Lang said he would keep in touch. Both commanders exchanged e-mail addresses.“I really admire the Filipino people for their sense of stoicism. Despite the hardships and the suffering amid the disaster, they appear strong and happy with smiles on their faces,” Lang said.The Australian said he would remember with fondness the lechon with rice and the people of Ormoc.His new Filipino “brother” in the military service said the working visit was fulfilling.“I will miss Rod and will forever be grateful to the Australian forces for helping us. Most of all, I will miss our early morning coffee chats.” Espulgar said. /Fayette C. RiñenRead Next PH protests Chinese boat swarm, warship passage Painters refuse to go quietly LATEST STORIESlast_img read more