By Francis Wakefield
National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) spokesman Director Edgar Posadas Monday said there are processes they have to follow when it comes to providing the death toll when strong typhoons hit the country.
In a press briefing at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, Posadas said following the “Yolanda” experience in 2013, the NDRRMC had to follow “protocols” to ensure that they are handing out the right details especially on the number of casualties.
Posadas said they are doing the verification and confirmation using the protocls stated under the Management of the Dead and Missing issued under a memorandum in 2016.
He said they would like to be cautious when giving figures on the number of casualties as they want to make sure that the cause of death is indeed related to the weather disturbance.
Posadas said such protocol is contained in NDRRMC Memorandum Circular Number 19 Series of 2016.
“Meron po tayong proseso ng pag validate ito po ang tinatawag natin na (We have a process of validating which we call) Management of the Dead and Missing cluster. This is part of the response cluster of the DILG,” Posadas said.
Posadas said the procedure has two phases one of which is assessment of dead bodies found which is still subject for validation process by the Department of Health or (DOH).
“We will try our best to come up with numbers for as long ako po ay tigasabi lang sa inyo no (for as long as I just report it to you). This is beyond me, ang ano ko po dito ay makapagpahayag kami sa inyo ng (my concern here is to express what is) truthful at validated,” he added.
Posadas, in the same press briefing, assured that human lives are still the interest of the NDRRMC.
Meanwhile, Posadas said the agency sent out a 14-man incident management team to help out at the operations being held in Itogon, Benguet where more than 30 persons are still buried under landslide.
In its 8 a.m. bulletin issued on Monday, NDRRMC executive director and Office of Civil Defense (OCD) administrator Ricardo B. Jalad, said that based on the latest reports they received, a total of 147,540 families or 591,762 persons from 31 provinces in Regions 1,2, 3, 4A, 4B, Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and the National Capital Region (NCR), were affected.
Of the figure, 50,686 families or 192,842 persons are currently staying in 1,899 evacuation centers while some 6,510 families or 26,666 individuals are being aided outside evacuation centers.
Jalad, at the same time, said 229 areas in Region 1, 3, 4A, were reported flooded as of Sunday (September 16). Of the number, floods in 35 localities have already subsided.
He added that a total of 214 road sections and five bridges were affected by the super typhoon in Regions 1, 2, 5 and CAR. As of Sunday, 95 road sections and one bridge were already passable to vehicles.
Jalad also reported that 38,515 families or 151,872 persons were preemptively evacuated in Regions 1, 2, 3, 4A, 5, CAR and the NCR as a result of Ompong.
The NDRRMC said flooding, landslides and suspension of classes were reported on different communities. It said that 288 cities and municipalities suspended work in government offices.
Meanwhile, a total of 451 houses were damaged with 75 houses totally damaged and 372 partially damaged.
A total of 1,200 sacks of rice have been loaded for delivery to the north via C-130 plane of the Philippine Air Force.
A total of P9, 044,156.65 worth of assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), local government units (LGUs), and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), have been provided to Regions 1, 3, Mimaropa, NCR and CAR.