A Filipino-born sailor has returned to the Philippines aboard HMAS Tobruk to assist with the Australian Defence Force’s Operation PHILIPPINES ASSIST clean-up effort at Ormoc, Leyte.
Leading Seaman Maritime Logistics Supply Chain sailor Erik Catada said that if HMAS Tobruk hadn’t deployed to the Philippines, he would have volunteered to deploy in another ship.
“I feel blessed to be able to come back and help,” he said.
“Teachers at the school we were cleaning up said they couldn’t believe I was a Filipino in the Royal Australian Navy and they were pleased to meet an Australian sailor who could speak their language,” he said.
“I am very thankful to be able to give something back to my old country in a small way.”
LSML-SC Catada came to Australia nine years ago “looking for greener pastures.”
“My Dad and two brothers are still in the Philippines but are in a different province and unaffected by Typhoon Haiyan,” he said.
“They don’t know I’m here, but I know they’re fine.”
LSML-SC Catada joined the Navy because he wanted to travel.