The newly installed commander of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division based in Camp Peralta, Jamindan, Capiz vowed to continue the search and retrieval operations in two landslide incidents in Negros Oriental.

During his visits in Negros Oriental yesterday, Maj. Gen. Jose Mabanta Jr, who recently assumed as the commander of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, directed the Negros Oriental- based army commanders to continue the search and retrieval operations to the victims of the landslide incidents in Brgy. Solonggon, La Libertad and Brgy. Planas in Guihulngan City, a press release from the army said.

Mabanta was welcomed by the officers and men of the 302 Brigade, Army headed by Col. Christopher Estella, the 302 Brigade Deputy Commander during his arrival at Camp Leon Kilat in Tanjay City at around 9:30 a.m. yesterday. He then conducted a talk to men to the military personnel and CAFGUs, and presided a conference with the officers of the different army units in the province, the press release said.

He also assured that the 3rd Division will continue to provide assistance to the subordinate units in the conduct of search and retrieval operations. At noon, Mabanta and party conducted an ocular inspection by land, the press release said.

Meanwhile, soldiers from the 302 Brigade and its operationally controlled units including reservists and CAFGUs were deployed to the severely affected areas and in the landslide areas were still conducting search and retrieval operations to the missing persons.

As of 4 p.m. yesterday, seven victims were rescued in La Libertad town, and transported by the helicopters of Tactical Operations Group 6 of the Philippine Air Force headed by Col. Rene Raoul Romel Honasan to Dumaguete City for proper medical treatment.

Relief operations are ongoing. Early yesterday, team of doctors, nurses and emergency medical technicians from the Office of the Civil Defense (Team Albay) that was sent by Governor Salceda of the province were hauled by the Philippine Air Force helicopters from 302 Brigade Headquarters to the affected areas in Guihulngan City.

Relief goods from the GMA Kapuso Foundation were hauled by the Army troopers of 302 Brigade, 79th Infantry Battalion and 1st Scout Ranger Company to the Navy Patrol Gunship 140 headed by Commodore Fuentes and were ferried to Guihulngan City for distribution to the victims. Also the Makati City Rescue Team headed by Anthony Melendres was hauled by two helicopters to conduct rescue and retrieval operations in Barangay Planas, Guihulngan City, the press release added.*