Thousands rescued by AFP, PNP from ‘Ulysses’ wrath

Published November 13, 2020, 3:52 PM

by Martin Sadongdong & Betheena Unite

By Martin Sadongdong and Betheena Unite

Thousands of individuals were safely rescued by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) across Luzon during the onslaught of typhoon “Ulysses,” authorities reported Friday.

Rescuers evacuate residents from their flooded homes after Typhoon Vamco hit, in Marikina City on November 12, 2020. (Photo by Ted ALJIBE / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN))

General Gilbert Gapay, AFP Chief, said a total of 2,727 persons were saved by the military’s search and rescue (SAR) teams in Metro Manila, Rizal province, and Bicol region. At least 11 others who sustained various injuries were also attended to by military rescuers. 

Meanwhile, General Debold Sinas, PNP Chief, said they rescued a total of 104,850 individuals in Metro Manila, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, and Bicol.

About 11,000 trapped individuals were rescued from flooded communities in Marikina, Rizal, Manila, and Cavite since Thursday morning, the Philippine Coast Guard said.

During the height of calls for rescue in flooded communities, mostly Marikina City and Rizal, the Coast Guard deployed rescue teams to rescue trapped residents in the affected areas, According to Admiral George Ursabia.

Among the rescue efforts by the military and police include the deployment of the Philippine Air Force (PAF)’s 15th Strike Wing and 520th Air Base Wing rescue personnel in Marikina City where several residents got trapped in their homes due to the overflowing of the Marikina River.

A separate disaster response team unit (DRTU) was sent to Noveleta, Cavite to save 48 individuals who were forced to stay on the roof of their houses as water at the Ylang-Ylang River rose beyond normal level.

Philippine Navy disaster relief teams were also sent in Provident Village, Urban Breeze, and Barangka in Marikina City to save trapped individuals.

Further, Philippine Army soldiers from the 2nd Infantry Division mobilised its personnel to save a family of five who got stuck inside their home when a landslide occured in Infanta, Quezon.

Elements of the 203rd Infantry Brigade transported 205 residents of Baujan, Oriental Mindoro to evacuation centers amid the heavy downpour while personnel of the 59th Infantry Battalion also provided transportation to dozens of evacuees in Calauag, Quezon province.

Sinas said that police personnel were instructed to coordinate with local government units and other government agencies to assist in the road clearing operations in the aftermath of Ulysses. Around 25,000 cops had been deployed for search and recue operations in areas located along the path of Ulysses.

“Inatasan ko ang lahat ng pulis (na) tumulong sa local government para tumulong sa clearing. We are also about to continue to provide security sa iba’t ibang evacuation centers. (I ordered all police personnel to help local government units in their clearing operations. We are also about to continue to provide security in various evacuation centers.) We have also readied our own relief operations in coordination with the local government units,” Sinas said.

For the military’s part, Gapay announced that the AFP will launch “Tulong Bayanihan” relief mission in areas affected by Ulysses and super typhoon “Rolly” which also dealt heavy damages in Luzon and parts of Visayas.

“The Armed Forces of the Philippines will never waver in carrying out our duty to protect the wellbeing of our people. As defenders of peace and security, the AFP is one with the Filipinos as we rise as one nation from the devastation brought by typhoon Ulysses,” Gapay said.

The Coast Guard has deployed 51 teams, composed of 299 personnel, to conduct rescue operations in flooded residential areas in Metro Manila, Rizal, and Cavite.

The teams were able to rescue families in Pasig City; Commonwealth and Bagong Silangan in Quezon City; Tumana, Barangka, and Provident Village in Marikina City; Tanza, Ternate, Rosario, Noveleta in Cavite; Montalban and Rodriguez in Rizal; and Hospicio de San Jose in San Miguel, Manila.

 “Our personnel also rushed to Barangka, Marikina City and prioritized the rescuing of pregnant women, senior citizens, and children,” Ursabia said.

“We experience the same scenario in Provident Village, Marikina City where we rescued a significant number of residents on top of their roofs as their houses were totally submerged in floodwater,” he added.

 Maritime incidents

Eight maritime incidents occurred in Luzon as typhoon Ulysses battered the island Thursday, the Coast Guard also said Friday.

Ursabia said they monitored “a minimal number of eight untoward maritime incidents amid typhoon Ulysses.”

 Two of these maritime incidents were the separate running aground of two vessels in Navotas and Pasay City.

 Motor tanker Bulusan drifted at the seaside of Ignacio Street in Navotas City due to big waves and strong winds amid the onslaught of the typhoon. As a result, it damaged a portion of the R-10 bridge.

 A cargo ship also hit the sea wall of the Mall of Asia in Pasay City after it ran aground in the area due to strong winds and rough seas brought by typhoon Ulysses.

“Both maritime accidents were immediately coordinated and resolved through active communication of ship crew and immediate response of their respective shipping companies,” Ursabia said.

The commandant also disclosed that they are currently conducting search and rescue operations to find three fishermen in Vinzons in Camarines Sur who ventured at sea amod the heavy weather.

 “Concerned Philippine Coast Guard districts continue to resolve five motorbanca accidents reported in their respective areas of responsibility,” Ursabia said.

He also furthered that the agency will continue to aid the local government and affected families as relief operations continue.

 “Our aerial assets are available to help the NDRRMC in determining the extent of damage in flooded communities for appropriate solutions. Our personnel and resources are available to aid the conduct of massive relief and medical operations,” Ursabia added.