Australian and Philippine officials conducted a humanitarian aid and disaster relief (HADR) tabletop exercise in Manila, Philippines as part of Australia’s flagship regional maritime engagement activity, Indo-Pacific Endeavour 22.
CAPTION:ADF Deputy Chief Joint Operations Command Air Vice-Marshal Mike Kitcher, right, presents a gift to the Office of Civil Defence Deputy Administrator for Operations, Assistant Secretary Bernardo Rafaelito Alejandro IV. Story by Captain Zoe Griffyn. Photo by Brandon Grey.
The activity is significant for both nations as Australia and the Philippines share common concerns regarding natural disasters.
In the recently published World Risk Report 2022, the Philippines ranked as the country with the highest disaster risk worldwide. The Philippines is exposed to 20 typhoons a year; and with 24 active volcanoes, the country is estimated to have a higher number of earthquakes per month compared to other nations.
The activity provided an opportunity to simulate preparedness, response and recovery mechanisms that Australian and Philippine governments have in place should a humanitarian crisis occur.
Philippine Navy Deputy Operations Manager Commander Jeff Mateo, from the Joint Taskforce National Capital Region, was pleased to attend the exercise.
“It was good to learn about the existing HADR protocols and systems between the Philippines and Australia,” Commander Mateo said.
“Knowing we can rely on support from Australia will help the taskforce plan for future disaster situations.”
Australia partners with countries such as the Philippines to share best practices in disaster risk reduction and management.
“We have a lot to learn from the Philippines,” HMAS Stalwart Maritime Logistics Officer Lieutenant Commander Catherine Ginty said.
“Their disaster management practices are mature compared to Australia.
“These activities allow us to bring lessons back to Australia that will assist both domestically and with our partner nations.”
The exercise reflected the Australian and Philippine relationship and commitment to inclusive disaster risk reduction and resilience.
“I believe every day is a learning opportunity,” Lieutenant Commander Ginty said.
“Taking knowledge from our Philippine colleagues will allow us to better support ourselves and our partners in times of need.”