Disaster response teams in-place, ready for effects of ‘Samuel’

Published November 20, 2018, 4:26 PM

by AJ Siytangco


 By Mike Crismundo

BUTUAN CITY – The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), as well as the Philippine National Police (PNP), have mobilized their respective disaster response teams as the initial effects of Tropical Depression Samuel started to be felt in the Caraga region Monday.


All technical teams and personnel of the nine District Engineering Offices (DEOs) of the DPWH  in the five provinces and six cities in Northeastern Mindanao or Caraga region have been on placed on high alert after Regional Director Pol M. delos Santos issued a directive Monday for their mobilization to ensure the structural integrity of vital roads, bridges and buildings.

Delos Santos said disaster response teams will have heavy equipment and all the necessary logistical on hand as they deploy along strategic locations to monitor and submit timely situational reports on the condition of national roads and bridges, including provincial and municipal roads.

“The various disaster teams must also provide prompt assistance during the onset of typhoon,” the region’s DPWH 13 chief pointed out.

The regional command of Northeastern Mindanao Police Regional Office 13 (PRO 13) has been placed on red alert by Regional Director Chief Supt. Gilberto DC Cruz.

PRO 13 Caraga’s Regional Disaster Operation Center (RDOC) has been activated in preparation for the landfall of Tropical Depression “Samuel” in the region, particularly in Siargao Island of Surigao del Norte and Dinagat Islands provinces.

“All PNP personnel in this region are already on standby and are ready for immediate response while search and rescue equipment have been prepared to respond to the affected areas,” Cruz told The Manila Bulletin on Tuesday.

“We are closely coordinating with the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council and other government agencies for our concerted efforts to typhoon Samuel,” the region’s police chief added.

“Samuel” may trigger flooding and landslides in some parts of the region.

Residents, especially those living near the river channels, low-lying and mountainous areas have been advised to take precautionary measures and evacuate immediately should any alarms are raised, Cruz added.

Classes in all levels in private and public schools have also been ordered in parts of the Caraga region, particularly in Butuan City, Surigao del Norte, Surigao City, Cabadbaran City, Tandag City and in Lanuza, Surigao del Sur are already suspended due to typhoon “Samuel”.

Some areas in Caraga region also suspended school classes in both government and private from pre-school, elementary, junior and senior high schools.

Surigao del Norte Gov. Sol F. Matugas, Butuan City Mayor Ronnie Vicente C. Lagnada, Surigao City Mayor Ernesto T. Matugas, Tandag City Mayor Alexander Pimentel and Cabadbaran City Mayor Katrina Marie O. Mortola ordered the suspension of classes.

Meanwhile, the disaster coordinating council in Surigao City has already implemented pre-emptive evacuation late Monday afternoon in flood and landslide-prone areas in barangays of San Juan, Sabang, Lipata, Punta Bilar,  Ipil, Mabua, Luna and Washington, all in Surigao City.