Transcript of press briefing by Sec Roxas on SaR operation for Sec Robredo and 2 pilots



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The Official Gazette thru gov.ph website releases transcript for the press briefing done by Transportation Secretary Manuel Roxas II and Representative Joseph Emilio Abaya for the ongoing search and rescue operations for the plane crash victims, DILG Secretary Robredo and two (2) pilots August 20, 2012.

Here is the copy of transcript courtesy of gov. ph for our reference.


Press briefing by Secretary of Transportation Manuel Roxas II and Representative Joseph Emilio Abaya:

On the search and rescue operation for Secretary Jesse Robredo and the two pilots
[Masbate City, Philippines; August 20, 2012]

SECRETARY MANUEL ROXAS II: In charge of coordinating all the efforts of the uniformed services dito, behind us, as you saw, was Sec. Gazmin of DND [Department of National Defense]; General [Jessie] Dellosa, Commanding General of AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines]; General [Lauro] dela Cruz of the Air Force; Admiral [Alexander] Pama of the Navy and Admiral Edmund Tan of the Coast Guard. Bukod pa doon, there is the Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council, and Governor [Rizalina] Lanete who is also there coordinating.

So lahat ng hanay ng gobyerno—national, local—tulong-tulong para dito. I neglected to add, please include General [Nicanor] Bartolome of the PNP [Philippine National Police]; nandito rin siya and he is also coordinating with the special units of the PNP. That’s the first part. Second, let me begin at the end. Ito muna because the others will generally be backgrounders.

‘Yung specialized technical deep-diving group, the foreigners that came here from Malapascua, Cebu, were feet wet or entered the water at 1:00 p.m. roughly. The maximum time of their equipment is about one hour and 15 minutes or one hour and 20 minutes. So we will have some news, in about 30 minutes, at about 2:30. The target depth that they will be attempting is about 250 feet.

Ang location, general area, na sinisid nila, dito po, kung makikita po ninyo, ang depth dito is roughly between 80 and 45 meters. Roughly, kung 45 meters ‘yan, times three. That’s about 130 feet. Kung 80 times three (to get the feet) is 240 feet. Pagkatapos nitong ridge na ito, naging parang ravine na siya, malalim na malalim at ang measure diyan is about 300 plus meters, so that’s almost already 1,000 feet. Hindi na maaabot ‘yan ng human [diver], pang-ROV [remotely operated underwater vehicle] na ‘yan.
So dito isang kilometro ito, isang kilometro din ito, so roughly, there’s about 250 meters to no more than 300 meters na mga nasa 250 feet up to 300 feet na depth na inaasahan natin na ito yung highest probability ng location. Kung tinangay siya ng underwater currents beyond this line, palalim nang palalim, super lalim na ‘yan; mga 1,000 feet na ‘yan at ROV na ang kakailanganin diyan.

Okey, bakit dito? Una, ito yung location na kung saan nakita ‘yung mga papel, ‘yung flight manifest kahapon. Roughly a little bit short of that, 150 feet. ‘Yan 55 meters, so 55 times three is about 150 feet. So, dito nakita ‘yung papel, somewhere in this vicinity, at 150 feet.

Ang report ng diver is palalim ‘yung gradient at palalim nang palalim hanggang dito nasa 240 feet. So, dito 150 feet, dito 240 feet, roughly. So palalim ng palalim ‘yan. Dito sila ngayon dahil diyan nakakita. That’s the last physical evidence na nakita natin, yung flight manifest na papel kahapon. Dito sila magsisimula ngayon.

Lahat itong pag-plan nito, kasama na diyan yung Philippine Navy, kasama na diyan ‘yung Coast Guard, kasama diyan ‘yung PNP, lahat ng mga maritime expert natin, at kinalkula nila ‘yung tides, ‘yung current. Itong area na ito, talagang malakas ang kuryente [current] dito sa tinatawag na Ticao Channel at kinalculate [calculate] nila na malamang yung eroplano, on the, not on the surface, but on the sea floor already at tinatangay nung kuryente patungo dito. Diyan sila magko-concentrate, itong last dive na ito.

Relyebo sila, turno-turno. Mayroon ditong first team na mga dayuhan na sibilyan, sila muna ang magre-reconnoiter. Nakahanda ang ating Navy, there are four technical competent ng ating Navy, at saka sa Coast Guard, sila ‘yung susunod in case na may sighting, kasi hindi sila puwedeng tumagal masyado. In case na may sighting, hopefully makapag-mark, masabi kung ano ‘yung coordinates, papasok ngayon ‘yung ating Navy to do the more intensive work. Kasi kung na-sight na nga, then they don’t waste time having to look around pa.

‘Yung matangkad na Amerikano, na Australyano, ang kanyang pinaka-maximum time is 40 minutes sa baba at 250 feet. So dagdag mo diyan about 20 minutes going down tapos he can only search around about 40 minutes maximum. So ang tawag diyan may re-breather siya. Pero kung may makita siya at maubusan na siya ng hangin, then ima-mark niya and ‘yung ating Navy naman na technical ang papasok at susunod doon.

Itong area na ito, ang calculation kung bakit ito ang pinaka-probable, nangyari ‘yan, we work backwards now. Ito yung visual reports ng kung saan tumama yung eroplano. Nandito tayo ngayon, ‘yung runway, ‘yung airport is ito, so, papasok na sila sa. In fact, ‘yung salaysay ni Jun Abrazado is nag-flaps down at saka nag-gear down na. So ‘yung piloto naghahanda na magla-landing.

Ito ‘yung runway; dito yung sinabi ng mga witnesses, more or less kung saan tumama ‘yung eroplano. After that, dito, somewhere here, ang tinatawag na ‘yung kinayod ‘yung ocean floor, ‘yung seabed, may mga ‘yung tinawag na marks or yung tinawag na skid marks kung saan nakakayod ‘yung ocean floor.
Pagkatapos noon, there was an oil slick about 20 feet in diameter. Based on that, these physical sightings, plus the tides and currents and everything, plus the fact that dito nakita ‘yung papel, ‘yung conclusion na nga ngayon is tinatangay ng underwater currents in this area. Nandiyan tayo ngayon.

Lahat ng equipment to do the deep dive is here. There is additional helium and additional gases na kakailanganin: nitrogen, oxygen, etc., na parating in case dives are necessary tomorrow. Nakita naman ninyo lahat ng mga tangke na dinala rito. Kinakargahan ngayon lahat yan ng compressor on board the Coast Guard vessels, so that in case na may sightings, then puwede na nila puntahan kaagad.

There are four Navy experts sa tech diving: itong tatlo na dayuhan. There are another three coming from Cebu na civilians na dadagdag in case na another team is necessary. Ang issue dito is hindi sila puwedeng agad-agad na bumalik after one dive. Halos half a day ang kailangan na surface interval time nila. So, they can only do maximum two dives in a day. ‘Yun lang talaga. We need teams. Relye-relyebo ‘yan.

Pero we don’t want to give the wrong impression. Ito yung mga efforts subsurface—subsurface ito. We are still on a search and rescue, ibig sabihin ng search and rescue. And I’d like to bring your attention to this map.

Itong Ticao Island, ito ‘yung Masbate, nandito tayo ngayon. Kita ninyo, channel ito. As in all instances, kapag channel, talagang mabilis ang kuryente diyan hindi ba kasi sumisikip so ‘yung tubig bumibilis. Hinatihati ito sa ating mga units ng Armed Forces. There will be… unang-una ‘yung sa air; there will be four sorties today.
Susuyurin nila ‘yung coast ng Ticao Island at saka yung coast ng Masbate. Batay sa mga tides at saka sa kuryente [current], maaari na dito natangay si Secretary Rebredo o kaya ang mga piloto na surviving. Hinati-hati nila ito area by area both sa flights, air, at saka sa surface.

‘Yung flights, there was a sortie at 6:00 a.m., Huey ng Philippine Air Force, negative ang findings. There was another sortie at 11:00 a.m., ‘yung VolCom ng Philippine Navy, negative pa rin ang finding. There is another sortie now at 2:00 p.m., VolCom ng Philippine Coast Guard, pasimula pa lang ‘yan. And there will be a last sortie for the day of 4:00 p.m., NG-520 ng Philippine Air Force.
Itong area na ito, itong haba na ito is about 30-nautical miles, iikutin ito at sisiguraduhin na walang survivors na nasa mga coves or isolated areas dito sa coast na ito. Dagdag pa doon, ‘yung provincial government na-notify lahat ng mga coastal barangay captains in these areas na en caso may makita sila na mga debris or survivors or victims ay tumawag kaagad sa provincial disaster and relief management office.

Doon naman sa surface, sa surface ships, the Philippine Navy, Philippine Coast Guard, hinati-hati nga itong area na ito: A, B, C, D, E. Area A would be by diesel fast craft, that’s about 40 square nautical miles, yun ang pinakanasa baba rito. Area B is the search and rescue vessel of the Philippine Coast Guard 3504, that’s about 45 square nautical miles. Area C will be the 374 ship of the Philippine Navy, that’s about 85 nautical miles. Area D, number 375 of the Philippine Navy, that’s about 105 nautical miles. At saka Area E, yung pinakamalaki, is the Philippine Ship 378, that’s about 275 nautical miles.

Magbabalik-balik sila diyan to see if there is any debris, oil slick, or any indication na natangay diyan ang mga survivors. So basically, that’s it. As you know, ang Pangulo ay nag-overnight dito. Concerned na concerned siya, patuloy niyang sinusubaybayan, mino-monitor, at sinusundan lahat ng mga developments dito sa search and rescue operation na ito. Did I miss anything? That’s it. That’s the 2 p.m. briefing. We’ll take a few questions if you have any.

Q & A
Q: Will bad weather affect the search and rescue operations?
SECRETARY ROXAS: So far hindi naman. Nakita natin versus yesterday, a little bit more clouds, a little bit more wind ngayon, pero the seas are still somewhat flat so okay naman, hindi naman napo-problem ang ating mga divers or ang ating sea operations.


Q: Bakit hindi pa po gumagamit ng remote operated vehicle?
SECRETARY ROXAS: The remote operated vehicle is on its way. Nag-offer ang U.S. government. I just finished speaking with Ambassador Harry Thomas. Yung kanilang offer ay maisasakatuparan na nga at tinanggap ng ating pamahalan. ‘Yung equipment mismo ay nasa Subic. Yung team na marunong mag-operate nito at marunong mag-interpret ng kung anong lumalabas sa radiograph sa screen ay dadating sa Subic ng 5:00 p.m.
Ie-enter nila ‘yung data. Kailangan nilang i-enter yung data ng contour ng seafloor dito sa computer nila. Gagawin nila yan all night tonight. Five am lilipad sila patungo dito, so beginning mid-morning tomorrow, makakapag-operate na sila ng ROV. Ang depth na maaabot ng ROV is up to 500 meters so that’s about 1,500 feet.

Q: [inaudible]
SECRETARY ROXAS: May mga protocol naman na ganyan. That’s a decision that will be made as the timing becomes necessary. But right now, ang designation nito ay search and rescue. Kita naman ninyo na bagamat fino-focus maaari, yung nakikita ninyo dito na diving pero tuloy-tuloy ang air search at tsaka tuloy-tuloy rin ang surface search.

Q: When will you switch to retrieval operations?
SECRETARY ROXAS: It will happen when it happens. Huwag na tayo masyado mag-project kung kailan man yan. Nandito tayo ngayon para gawin ang lahat para makitang ligtas si Sec. Jess Robredo at ang dalawa pang piloto.

Q: [inaudible]
SECRETARY ROXAS: Hindi ko lang alam kung fault line yan o hindi. But clearly, there is a canyon. Kasi from about 250 feet… 80 meters yan, eh. So 80 times 3 is about 240, say, 250 feet, bigla na lang magiging 1,000 feet. So there is an underwater canyon and it’s even probably deeper further out. So whether that in fact a fault line or not, hindi natin masasabi. What we do know is talagang bumabagsak yan at this point. That’s about 250 meters to 300 meters from this site to that site. Diyan magiging very useful yung ROV kasi hindi na kakayanin ng human ito. ROV na ang gagamitin diyan.

Q: [inaudible]
SECRETARY ROXAS: Kita naman ninyo very professional ang ating services, both uniform and civilian. Nakita ninyo na mayroong plano, very professional nilang sinusunod. Ang kakayahan ng mga equipment at tsaka ng mga personnel, ‘yung experienced divers ng both Coast Guard, PNP, at tsaka nung Navy, sila yung pumupunta sa mas malalim. Yung mga less experienced doon naman sila sa mas mababaw. So very, very good ang coordination and masasabi naman na we’re doing all that we can at ginagawa ang lahat para maging matagumpay itong search and rescue na ito.

Q: Ano po ang primary consideration ng Pangulo?
SECRETARY ROXAS: Ang Presidente concerned na concerned, of course, sa family ni Sec. Jesse Robredo and, of course, also yung sa piloto at saka sa co-pilot. Sabi nga niya, to quote him, he said Sec. Jess is not just a kawani niya sa gobyerno o katrabaho niya. Hindi lamang personal friend, pero parang comrade. Parang talagang kasama niyang handa na ma-persecute, kasamang magpa-kulong, sumama sa lahat ng mahahalagang mga isinulong na adbokasiya para sa kabutihan ng ating bansa.
Talagang emotionally engaged siya dito sa search and rescue na ito. Kita mo naman ang Pangulo, very somber, very serious, very professional, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 sa kanyang mga tanong sa ating military leaders and other civilian leaders so very, very concerned siya.

Q: [inaudible]
SECRETARY ROXAS: This is the 19th. At August 19th, 2:00 p.m., doon nakita ang papel. Wala. Nobody has seen the wreckage. These are the data points. The first data point is what the witnesses say was where the plane hit the water. More or less dito rin nakita yung wing part. At dito rin na-rescue si Jun Abrazado. The next data point is yung skid marks na nakita ng isang diver. Next data point is the oil slick. So all of these things are man-made. The next data point is the piece of paper that was found on the seabed.
Kaya batay diyan at batay din sa logic ng tides and currents, more or less, ang calculation is somewhere here, in this grid, 1 kilometer by 1 kilometer grid, somewhere here, hopefully, is the highest probability.

Ngayon malalaman natin ‘yan in about 30 to 40 minutes kung may nakita man dito, kung wala, then we have to recalculate and find out or baka the ROV will indicate something dito where it is much deeper.

Q: [inaudible]
SECRETARY ROXAS: Mayroon ding mga parang scrap metals, mga metallic objects, obviously man-made. Hindi found in nature na medyo nakakalat in this area.

Q:[inaudible]
SECRETARY ROXAS: Iba yung pag-recover ng wreckage, iba yung pag-recover ng victims if they are inside the wreckage. Ang unang priority natin are the victims, of course. And then the wreckage, iba pang specialized equipment siguro ang kakailanganin diyan. But ‘yung victims, if they are in fact inside the wreckage, would be the priority.

Q: [inaudible]
SECRETARY ROXAS: It’s possible. Pero nakita naman ninyo, yesterday, the search grid was roughly five kilometers, one dimension, and about two kilometers deep. So that was about ten-square kilometers. Ngayon, naka-focus tayo more or less sa six square kilometers but really sa one-square kilometer in this particular area.

It’s a good sign na all of these, the information, nako-collate, na-aanlayze ng ating Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force, tinitignan nila ‘yung hangin, ‘yung tides, ‘yung currents. Pino-project nila kung saan kaya tinangay ‘yung eroplano kaya narating nila itong area na ito.

Q: [inaudible]
Aanalyze muna natin kung ano ‘yung resulta, ano ‘yung data. Binabasa din nila ‘yung sonar. Magmula kanina, may sonar na pabalik-balik. In fact, tatlo na ‘yung sonar equipment na pabalik-balik dyan. Ina-analyze lahat ‘yan ng ating mga kawani sa Navy, sa Coast Guard, sa Air Force, sa Army, lahat ng nakakaintindi nitong mga teknikal na ito. At batay sa ebidensya, batay sa kung anong nakikita, then they will make a decision kung ililipat nila dito, dito, or ROV muna dito sa mas malalim. So they will make those appropriate decisions. By the way, one other piece of information, lahat ng ating mga eroplano dito sa bansa natin may regulasyon tayo na nagsasabing kailangang may dala silang electronic location transmitter [ELT] at makakuha ng lisensya na lumipad ang isang eroplano supposed to be may electronic location transmitter. At ito’y designed na pagna-aksidente o tumama sa tubig, mage-emit siya ng signal. At itong signal na ito, napi-pick up ito internationally. There is no such signal that has been picked up. So hindi natin alam, ‘wag tayong magspeculate. Hindi natin alam kung nasira or hindi umandar o kaya walang ELT itong eroplanong ito. But if you are compliant with the CAAP rules, you’re supposed to have an ELT na mage-emit. But so far, not Hong Kong, not Japan ang nakakatanggap ng ELT signal dito sa eroplanong ito.

Alam mo ang nakakatulong sa atin diyan ay former, kasalakuyang congressman to the former navy man (Annapolis) graduate at former Navy man Cong. Jun Abaya, ‘yung sa sonar maybe you can say a few words.

REP. JUN ABAYA: Magandang hapon, sa briefing po ng military kanina, apparently, dahil sa datong ito, dito po pinapaktabo ‘yung sonar-equipped vessel. Nahiram po natin ‘yan from a volunteer, ngayon ata kinarga doon sa Phimera(?), a civilian ship out there. So dito nagko-concentrate at naba-validate based on sonar readings na malaki ang reflection na dinadala dito. Kagabi rin may mga balita na dumadating na additional metal debris were seen through sonar.
I think eventually that will be, that will come into the picture. We don’t know yet how the aircraft whether it’s intact or it’s broken apart kung umabot man dito if it goes ROV so it becomes more challenging so you got to go deep with heavy lifting capabilities so hindi pa natin nakikita kung paano nabiyak o buo pa. But I’m sure as more information will come in, hopefully bodies will be covered then salvage issues will come in.

Well it’s… ang sonar kasi is not really that exact na parang picture na kita mo talaga delineated, these are reflections from bottom, from sound waves, they are really not clearly defined. So ang nakikita, 5 minutes ago nakausap ko rin si Sec. Gazmin na may mga reports na may mga rock formations there na hindi gumagalaw. Based on sonar, it has not moved. That is good news for us dahil kung titingnan natin ang tinakbo nito, medyo nakakakaba. Within 24 hours, ito na ang tinakbo ng supposed wreckage. Just a few minutes ago, ang report is hindi gumagalaw ‘yung object na ‘yun, kung anuman po iyon.

SECRETARY ROXAS: We’ll do another briefing as soon as the information comes in. General, may idagdag pa po ba kayo? So, hanggang diyan lang muna tayo, and then we’ll do another briefing. Thank you very much.
Sa mga press, makikiusap ako, nag-briefing na kami, so hindi ko muna sasagutin ‘yung mga tawag nila. Kayo ang may hawak ng impormasyon. Salamat po.


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