DILG: 3,267 police and fire personnel conducting search and rescue operations in Cagayan and Isabela
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has deployed some 3,267 Philippine National Police (PNP) and Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) personnel to Cagayan and Isabela provinces and they are currently conducting search and rescue and disaster response operations in coordination with Philippine Coast Guard, Armed Forces, and Local Government Unit (LGU) rescue teams.
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said that this consists of 1,087 police personnel in the various LGUs and 920 police officers from the Reactionary Standby Support Force of Police Regional Office 2 based in Tuguegarao City.
Another 1,260 BFP personnel deployed in all the LGUs of Region 2 together with 28 Emergency Medical Service and Special Rescue Unit personnel have also been mobilized and are currently conducting disaster response operations, he said.
The DILG Chief said those reserve contingents from other Police and Fire Regional Offices and PNP and BFP National Headquarters have also been mustered for rapid deployment.
The Cagayan Provincial Government said a total of 156 barangays from 24 out of 29 areas in Cagayan were flooded due to the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses.
Meanwhile, he also commended the PNP and the BFP for a job well done in working closely with the LGUs in rescuing and evacuating some 163,532 families in Ulysses-affected areas in other parts of the country.
Año said that some 363 rescue teams composed of about 25,000 PNP officers and 10,147 BFP personnel were dispatched to all Luzon regions including the National Capital Region (NCR) to aid affected families and individuals.
“I commend our police and fire officers for their selfless and heroic acts of braving the floodwaters, doing search and rescue missing, monitoring landline-prone areas, and keeping evacuation centers orderly amid the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses. They did a good job in NCR and other regions, now they are doing it in Cagayan,” he said.
“The men and women of the LGUs, BFP, and PNP risked their lives to fulfill their sworn duties. Their deeds don’t usually make it to the media but their acts are testaments that they are working and caring for the people,” he added.
In a report to the DILG, the PNP rescued and evacuated some 104,850 individuals while the BFP rescued and assisted 58,682 individuals. This was possible because the PNP and BFP personnel were already on red alert as early as November 11.
The DILG Chief explained that the local chief executives are the ones on top of the disaster risk reduction (DRR) initiatives in their respective areas of jurisdictions. Their local DRR teams composed of police, fire, and other members are automatically activated once a typhoon alert is issued by the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAG-ASA).
“Ilang taon na rin simula ng pinapatupad ng DILG ang Operation Listo at ang lahat ng mga LGUs ay automatic na gumagawa ng critical preparedness measures tatlong araw bago pa man mananalasa ang bagyo,” Año said.
He said police and fire officers were already deployed to help the LGUs implement pre-emptive evacuation ahead of the typhoon’s landfall. The PNP also secured some 13,526 evacuation centers while the BFP monitored 1,861 evacuation centers across the country.
Part of the deployed police equipment to various Ulysses-affected areas were rubber boats and trucks while the deployed fire equipment includes fire trucks, rescue/hazmat trucks, and ambulances.
“Hindi man natin maiwasan ang hagupit ng hangin at ulan sa tuwing may malakas na bagyo pero malaking tulong ang kahandaan ng ating mga LGUs, kapulisan at bumbero kaya mas mababa ang nasawi nitong bagyong Ulysses kumpara sa mga nagdaang bagyo,” he added.