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Air Force' Black Hawk helis airlifts vax to isolated Eastern Visayas islands

Philippine Air Force S70i Black Hawk

June 17, 2022

BORONGAN CITY – Philippine Air Force S70i Black Hawk #118 helicopter delivered Covid 19 vaccines to Suluan and Homonhon Islands in Guiuan, Eastern Samar on June 16, 2022.

The Department of Health (DOH) Region VIII requested the trip to administer booster shots to the residents of two historical islands.

The helicopter left Tactical Operations Group (TOG) Headquarters in Tacloban City at 7:50 AM for Guiuan Airport. It briefly touched down at Guiuan at 8:12 AM to pick up the vaccines and the DOH personnel.

The first destination was on the easternmost island, the Suluan Island, Eastern Visayas. Suluan Island was the first island the team of European explorer Ferdinand set foot on in 1521. The helicopter landed at 8:34 AM on the scrappy landing zone prepared by the islanders and immediately unloaded the vaccines.

The second destination was Homonhon Island vaccines arrived at 8:46 AM. The island has several barangays and is dominated by the mining of nickel.

Suluan is two hours from Guiuan by boat while Homonhon is one hour. Sea travel is rough, especially in the afternoon.

AFP's Joint Task Force Storm and 8th Infantry Division Commander Major General Edgardo De Leon commended the Officers and personnel of Tactical Operations Group 8 Magellan for being reliable and steadfast in support of the JTF Storm's cause.

"TOG 8 has always been a dependable partner. In our campaign against terrorism, in times of disaster, and even in our fight against this pandemic. We also take this opportunity to thank President Duterte for modernizing the AFP. It helped us better defend and serve our people," De Leon said.

The mission of TOG 8 ended at 9:26 AM.