By Ms. Michelle Harlan (USASAC)December 10, 2013
PHILIPPINES -- Materiel bought through the Army's foreign military sales process is most often used to build allied militaries, but it is sometimes also used to support humanitarian relief efforts in the event of a natural disaster. Such an instance occurred following Super Typhoon Haiyan that struck central Philippines last month.
Twenty-five M-35 trucks that were sold through FMS grant funding and delivered to the Philippine Army in August just happened to be in the right place at the right time. After the natural disaster struck the country, the 2-1/2 ton trucks were an immediate help to deliver relief aid to citizens in remote areas of the country.
U.S. Army Maj. Michael Van Hoven, chief of land programs at the Joint U.S. Military Assistance Group-Philippines, thanked the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command via email message for coordinating the vehicles' delivery.
"Your efforts certainly made an impact," he said. "The trucks are being used to transport relief goods, personnel and other requirements."
According to Don Brodersen, a country program manager in USASAC's PACOM regional operations, the FMS case originally requested M-35 spare parts and "repower kits," or new engines. In response to the case requirements, TACOM's Security Assistance Management Directorate suggested refurbished and reconditioned trucks instead, which resulted in a small increase of price.
"The Philippine Armed Forces chose to get the complete trucks instead of the repower kits," Brodersen said. "A good choice which benefited them during this disaster."
Following disaster relief efforts, Van Hoven said the trucks will be used for other missions and operations. He also said the country is interested in acquiring more vehicles, possibly through USASAC's Excess Defense Article program.
"The country's military is in dire shortage of prime movers," Van Hoven said. "Yearly, typhoons, earthquakes, volcanoes and a host of other natural disasters are just a few of the challenges that the Armed Forces of the Philippines has to contend with.
"They also have an active internal security mission and a renewed emphasis on modernization and building territorial defense capabilities," he added. "There is no shortage of applications.
"The trucks provided a significant boost to the Philippine Army's capability to assist in disaster relief efforts when it was most needed," Van Hoven said.