Atty. Benjamin ‘Benhur’ Abalos, Jr.
First of all, we would like to thank our local government units, especially our local disaster risk reduction and management officers, our uniformed personnel led by our Philippine National Police and Bureau of Fire Protection, and the other member-agencies of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council for their commitment and sacrifice before and during the onslaught of Super Typhoon Karding.
On the part of the PNP, a total of 8,642 police officers were deployed to evacuation centers, vacated and affected areas including vital installations such as public markets, gas stations, terminals, warehouses, relief operation centers, and other public convergence areas.
Another 11,619 firefighters and personnel, 1,596 fire trucks, 103 ambulances, 22 rescue trucks, and seven rescue boats were also deployed in strategic locations to evacuate and provide assistance to affected residents.
Meanwhile, LGUs of affected regions also stepped up their efforts and carried out critical actions even before Karding’s landfall.
Reports from the ground showed that the LGUs were able to convene their respective Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils (DRRMCs) and conduct Pre-Disaster Risk Assessment (PDRA) meetings; activated Barangay DRRMCs for close coordination, prepositioning of necessary supplies and preparation of evacuation centers; and, conducted pre-emptive evacuations starting on September 24, 2022.
We also made sure that local chief executives, as the chairpersons of their respective local disaster risk reduction and management committees, were physically present in their respective localities to ensure that they are on top of disaster management operations in their areas.
Despite all of these, we are heartbroken over the death of five rescuers from the Bulacan Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office who perished during a rescue mission at the height of Karding. We give our snappy salute to them for their unparalleled dedication to public service as we offer our sincere condolences and prayers to their families.
While Karding is now outside the Philippine area of responsibility, the worst may be over but our work is not yet done. It is now time for us to rebuild our people's lives and ensure that those affected are provided with immediate relief and assistance from the national and local governments.
Based on our reports from the field, some 101,847 individuals or 25,642 families affected by Typhoon Karding who took refuge in the evacuation areas at the onslaught of the typhoon are now decamping and returning to their respective homes. Of this number, 34,200 people or 9,582 families are from Region III; 33,624 people or 7,189 families in NCR; and 29,122 people or 7,380 families are from Region IV-A. Another 1,061 people or 328 families from CAR; 1,670 people or 496 families in Region I; 1,284 people or 398 families in Region II; 878 people or 267 families are from Region IV-B; and eight people or two families from Region V.
Considering that flood has not yet subsided in many low-lying areas in Region III and IV-A, we caution the public from submerging in flood waters as they may be inflicted with water-borne diseases and complications. Among the flooded areas are the City of Imus, Naic, and Ternate, Cavite; Mabitac and City of San Pedro, Laguna; Patnanungan, Quezon; Obando and Paombong, Bulacan; Macabebe and Masantol, Pampanga. We likewise advise the LGUs of the affected areas to fast-track the road clearing operations in areas that were affected or unpassable due to landslides and road debris.
For those affected by the damaged/impassable bridges in Cauayan City and Echague, Isabela; Alfonso Castañeda, Nueva Viscaya; Saguday, Quirino; and Santa Maria, Bulacan, please coordinate closely with the Department of Public Works and Highways for alternate routes while we look for long-term solutions for bridge repairs or reconstructions.
For the 14 provinces in Regions I, II, III, IV-A and CAR that are still affected by power interruptions and outages, we ask for more patience and understanding as our LCEs are working closely with your respective power providers to have the power restored the soonest possible time.
Since port operations are still suspended in all ports of Luzon, we advise the traveling public to wait for the go signal from the Philippine Ports Authority before you resume your journey.
Panghuli, sa kabila ng sakit at pighati sa mga nawalan ng kapamilya at nasalantang mga pananim sa pananalasa ng bagyong Karding, masasabi natin na mas handa na ang ating mga LGUs laban sa mga lumalakas na bagyo. Patunay lamang ito na epektibo na ang sistemang ilang taon nang ipinapatupad na kagaya ng Operation Listo kahit halos bago pa ang mga nakaupo sa puwesto.
Makakaasa kayo na ang inyong DILG ay narito para tulungan kayo upang sama-sama tayong makabangon muli mula sa pinsala at pasakit na dinulot ni Karding.