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NOLCOM offers free flight to stranded locals and tourists in typhoon-affected Batanes

CAMP AQUINO, Tarlac City — The Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) thru the Tactical Operation Group 2 (TOG 2) of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) conducted an air evacuation to stranded tourists and locals in Basco, Batanes on Thursday (Aug. 10), following the aftermath of Typhoons Egay and Falcon. The island province bore the brunt of the typhoons, leaving a trail of destruction and weeks of inclement weather that crippled commercial flights.

TOG 2 coordinated a seamless transport operation to ensure the safety and swift air evacuation of those affected. Assisting in their operation is the 10th Marine Company (10MC) of the Marine Battalion Landing Team-10, Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) who provided aircraft security, ensuring safe arrivals and departures at Basco Airport amidst challenging weather conditions.

The joint efforts of the PAF and PMC both units of NOLCOM yielded tangible results as 51 individuals were successfully air evacuated from Basco Airport to Laoag Airport, Ilocos Norte, and Col Jesus Villamor Air Base, Pasay City. The 220th Airlift Wing (220AW) also played a pivotal role, effectively utilizing the C295 Nr 217 aircraft to facilitate the evacuation.

“As of August 11, 2023, the air evacuation mission remains ongoing, with the dedicated teams committed to evacuating over 250 individuals. Stranded tourists, local flight passengers, as well as personnel from local government units and government agencies are among those being rescued”, said Colonel Glenn S Piquero, PAF (GSC), Group Commander of TOG 2.

Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. Fernyl G. Buca PAF, Commander of NOLCOM, commended the swift response of the units and emphasized that “the unyielding efforts of our responders in the face of adversity are a testament to the selfless service and commitment of our armed forces in the performance of their sworn mandate as defenders of the north and protectors of the people.”

TOG 2 is the PAF unit under NOLCOM responsible for the Search, Rescue, and Retrieval operations during the onslaught of Typhoon Egay and Falcon in Region 2 and responsible for tracking down the crashed Cessna-152 plane on August 2, 2023, in the mountains of Apayao. (UnliNews Online)

Manny D. Balbin
Manny D. Balbin
Emmanuel "Manny" Dineros Balbin, founder and editor-in-chief of UNLINEWS ONLINE and UNLINEWS Digital Newspaper, is a former seminarian of Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) in Notre Dame University Seminary in Cotabato City. Graduated college with Philosophy and Political Science courses at the University of Santo Tomas, Legazpi City. A former Journal Group of Publication (People's Journal, People's Tonight, Taliba & Women's Journal) staffer for 17 years. Before, he simultaneously contributed news articles to 3 local newspapers in Bulacan (NewsCore, MetroNews & NewsWatcher). He is the founder and the former editor-in-chief of RONDA Balita, both in weekly newspaper and online news. A former Kabayan provincial reporter, 2010 Bulacan election correspondent by Rappler and presently, a stringer of Philippine News Agency (PNA) Bulacan.


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