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Rolly kills 24, injures 26


SUPER typhoon ‘Rolly’ left the country with a swath of destruction and killed 24 and injured 26 others, a Philippine National Police report said yesterday as General Camilo Pancratius P. Cascolan ordered his men to field all available personnel and resources in badly-devastated areas.

A PNP Disaster Incident Management Task Group report said that 20 of the fatalities came from Bicol region; three from Calabarzon region and one from Mimaropa region.

Another 22 were reported injured in Bicol and four in Calabarzon region. There were also three reported missing in Region 5 and one each from Regions 4-A and 4-B.

The PNP-DIMTG said 22 infrastructures in Mimaropa region; 10 from Bicol and one from Cordillera region were also destroyed. Heavy rains and overflowing rivers also flooded 417 areas; 186 froom Bicol; 149 form Mimaropa; 70 from Central Luzon; seven from Metro Manila; and five from Calabarzon region.

The PNP said that since Sunday, police in affected regions have rescued 6,707 persons, a total of 3,677 by the Police Regional Office 4-A; 2,748 by the PRO5; 215 by the PRO4-B; and 67 by the National Capital Region Police Office.

However, not even a single incident of looting was recorded by the PNP as a result of ‘Rolly’ which also affected 1,095 Bicol policemen and three from the NCRPO.

As of yesterday, PNP spokesman, Colonel Ysmael S. Yu said that 5,804 PNP ‘search-and-rescue’ personnel have been deployed in affected regions with 16,604 others in standby for possible deployment.

The PNP spokesperson said that on orders of Gen. Cascolan, a total of 19,243 Reactionary Standby Support Force personnel have been mobilized.

To date, nearly 1,600 policemen have been deployed in evacuation centers to ensure the safety and security of displaced residents in Metro Manila and Regions 2,3, 4-A, 4-B, 5, 6, 8, 10 and Cordillera region.

Latest accounting showed that 4,848 policemen deployed are equipped with life vests, rescue rope, rappelling sets, floating rings, chainsaws and megaphones. Police also deployed 457 rubber boats, over 7,000 vehicles, 423 generator sets and radio and other communication equipment in areas where electricity and communications have been a problem after strong winds brought by ‘Rolly’ toppled electric posts and power lines.

Latest reports said there are 241 areas without electricity. In Bicol region, the entire Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Catanduanes and Sorsogon provnces and some areas in Naga City and 57 in Masbate City were experiencing a power outage.

There were also 68 areas in Region 4-A; 94 in Mimaropa; 10 in Cordillera; seven in Cagyaan Valley; three from Central Luzon; and two from Metro Manila without electricity.

Another 103 areas also have no cell phone signals including 55 form Bicol, 16 from Cagayan Valley; 28 from Cordillera region; one from Bicol; and three form Northern Mindanao.

Yu said there are a total of 16,017 evacuation centers in affected regions currently housing nearly 159,000 affected families composed of about 612,000 individuals being guarded by the police.

All flights to and from Regions 4-B and 5 were canceled on Sunday and Monday while 659 motor vehicles carrying 2,700 people were stranded in different ports in Bicol, Eastern Visayas, Mimaropa and Calabarzon regions.

Twenty-four roads were also rendered impassable to vehicles due to flooding and other debris including nine form Region 3; four from Region 2; five from Cordillera region; two from Region 4-A; two from Region 4-B; and one from Western Visayas.

Victims get aid

Acting on Cascolan, food banks from different police regional offices across the country have been mobilized to provide rice and other goods to residents of areas badly hit by super typhoon ‘Rolly’ amid the pandemic.

The PNP on Monday opened its ‘Food Bank’ and sent trucks and other available motor vehicles in areas devastated by ‘Rolly.’

Cascolan also placed all police units on full alert to ensure availability of resources and personnel for possible disaster response operations in areas affected by the onslaught of the typhoon.

The top cop said they have prepared food packs and 1,740 sacks of rice for affected residents and deployed PNP trucks for their Libreng Sakay program which aims to transport stranded people to their respective places.

Acting on an appeal from the PNP chief to rekindle the age-old ‘Bayanihan spirt’ of Filipinos, the Police Regional Office 2 headed by Brigadier Gen. Crizaldo O. Nieves said it provided 160 sacks of rice for affected Bicol residents.

“With our little act of kindness, families in the hardest-hit areas of Bicol Region will be able to have their staple food of rice to carry them through the disaster. We will also continue to collect donations from other stakeholders who will be giving food packs and other basic necessities for our brothers and sisters who are directly affected by the said catastrophe,” Nieves said.

The PRO2 also activated its Reactionary Standby Support for possible augmentation to the PNP National Headquarters managing all search, rescue and relief operations in the affected regions.

Guard for all Ro-Ro vessels

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

Yu said that all police disaster response units, personnel and equipment were rushed to these areas for swift reaction to possible contingencies. At the same time, PNP Food Bank resources were prepositioned within the proximity of 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 to other concerned agencies. 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.

Gen. Cascolan also ordered his men to assist the Department 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 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, this also covers those 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.