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CASCOLAN mobilizes PNP-HPG for big ‘Rolly’ job

PHILIPPINE National Police chief General Camilo Pancratius P. Cascolan on Friday ordered the PNP Highway Patrol Group to buckle down to work and help mitigate the effects of super typhoon Rolly in Metro Manila and other parts of the country.

PNP-HPG director Brigadier Gen. Alexander C. Tagum in turn said he has ordered the Regional Highway Patrol Units in National Capital Region and Regions 3, 4-A and 5 to thoroughly inspect and ensure the removal of billboards in their areas which may be blown by heavy winds and cause fatality or damage.

Tagum also ordered his men to inspect all concrete barriers put up by the Metro Manila Development Authority along EDSA as well as other road barriers in other affected areas since they will always be the possibility they might be swept away in case of flood and damage properties including passing motor vehicles.

The official said HPG search-and-rescue and traffic personnel have also been ordered to secure their parking spaces to prevent damage in case of flooding. Likewise, the HPG also sought the help of the MMDA and the Department of Public Works and Highways in deploying heavy equipment in case of road-clearing operations.

The PNP-HPG director also asked his officials to coordinate with the Land Transportation Office and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board for possible assistance in directing bus operators to cease operations due to the No Sail Notice from the Philippine Coast Guard for all Ro-Ro vessels.

All available police rescue personnel and equipment were mobilized Friday in perennial geohazard areas in Central and Southern Luzon ahead of the touchdown of ‘Rolly,’ PNP spokesman Colonel Ysmael S. Yu said.

According to the official, Gen. Cascolan ordered all PNP disaster response units in Central and Southern Luzon to be prepared for deployment as soon as ‘Rolly’ strikes.

Yu said that all police disaster response units, personnel and equipment were rushed to these areas for swift action in contingencies. At the same time, PNP Food Bank resources were prepositioned near designated evacuation centers for possible relief operations.

“On top of the PNP mandate to enforce the law is the duty to perform public safety operations to save lives during this season when normal community activities are momentarily interrupted by extreme weather conditions,” Gen. Cascolan said.

“This is a most opportune time for the PNP to link arms with local governments, state agencies, and private organizations to enliven the Bayanihan spirit in the face of calamity,” he added.

Camp Crame has activated the NHQ Disaster Incident Management Task Group (DIMTG) which oversees an updated and enhanced plan of action of the PNP on disaster preparedness and response management in support of other concerned agencies.

Yu said that the DIMTG supports the government’s disaster risk reduction and management efforts in accordance with the PNP Critical Incident Management Operational Procedures (CIMOP).

The official said the DIMTG has alerted PNP disaster response-capable units such as the Special Action Force, Maritime Group, HPG and Police-Community Affairs and Development Group as well as the Regional Mobile Force Battalions and Provincial and City Mobile Force Companies to coordinate closely with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council and Local Government Units for possible enforcement of forced evacuation in areas threatened by storm surge, flooding, and landslide.

Likewise, Police Regional Offices in affected areas were instructed to keep all national highways and major thoroughfares clear of obstructions and debris to allow unhampered passage of troops, rescue units, emergency vehicles and relief supplies, Yu added.