PHILIPPINE National Police chief General Camilo Pancratius P. Cascolan yesterday called on the Filipinos to show their “bayanihan spirit” as the PNP started leading post-disaster clean-up, relief and rehabilitation operations in areas hardest hit by super typhoon Rolly.
The top cop ordered all concerned police directors to initiate clearing of highways and main roads to open them up to emergency services, relief caravans, and commercial cargo.
“In the spirit of Bayanihan, the PNP is linking arms with local government units, state agencies and NGOs in rebuilding and rising from the devastation left by typhoon Rolly,” Gen. Cascolan said.
The PNP chief noted “the readiness of LGUs and police units in responding to emergencies and firm implementation of disaster mitigation measures resulted in minimal casualties despite Rolly’s destructive force.”
At the same time, he ordered his men to assist the Department of Trade and Industry in enforcing a price freeze on basic commodities and essential goods in areas that will be declared under state of calamity.
He explained that under Republic Act 7581 or the Price Act of the Philippines, automatic price control is up in areas that are declared under a state of calamity for a period of not more than 60 days.
Aside from basic necessities and prime commodities listed or being monitored by the DTI, the price cap also covers goods under regulation of the Department of Agriculture, Department of Health such as rice, sugar, poultry products, dairy products, cooking oil, cooking fuel, medicine, and medical supplies.
The PNP chief also assured national police units that suffered infrastructure damage from the typhoon that they will get appropriate support from the National Headquarters to allow them to immediately resume operations.
“As soon as all damage assessment reports are in, we can begin restoration work for damaged PNP facilities, he said.
PNP food bank
The PNP yesterday opened a ‘food bank’ and sent trucks and other available motor vehicles to areas badly affected by super typhoon Rolly which killed at least10 and devastated some parts of the country.
General Cascolan said he has placed all police units on full alert to ensure availability of resources and personnel for disaster response operations in areas affected by the onslaught of the typhoon.
“I have ordered all police commanders to coordinate with local government units (LGUs) and local offices of the Office of Civil Defense on the specific assistance that the police could provide to ensure public safety. We are in coordination with LGUs for pre-emptive evacuations,” the top cop said.
“We are currently conducting preventive evacuation of all people residing near coastal areas. Here at the national headquarters, we activated the Reactionary Standby Support Force or RSSF for possible augmentation and to lead during critical incident management and disaster response of PNP,” he added.
Cascolan said they have prepared food packs and 1,740 sacks of rice for relief operations in areas badly hit by the typhoon while PNP food bank resources were prepositioned within the proximity of designated evacuation centers for immediate assistance to affected areas.
“We have also readied the availability of PNP trucks for our Libreng Sakay Program – this is to transport our stranded kababayans back to their respective places,” he added.
Cascolan said that amid the challenges being faced by the PNP, they will remain resolute and ready for disaster preparedness and response operations to protect lives and properties from any typhoon as they continue to enforce minimum quarantine measures to address the spread of COVID-19.
“We are calling on our people in affected areas to stay safe, alert and informed, and heed the orders of authorities particularly for preemptive evacuation that may be enforced. The PNP will be there where we are needed most, and together we will weather the storm,” he said.