The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) stressed Thursday that Secretary Eduardo Año was never remiss in his duty before, during and after typhoon “Ulysses’’ struck parts of Luzon.
In a statement, DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya explained that as early as November 9, days before Ulysses struck the country, the Secretary issued advisories to all LGUs (local government units) directing them to activate their Emergency Operations Centers and Disaster Monitoring Systems.’’
Prior to the November 11 landfall of typhoon “Ulysses’’, Malaya said that the DILG secretary spoke before the national media outlets “advising the public and local government units (LGUs) officials, especially in Bicol, to immediately implement Operation Listo protocols, establish critical preparedness actions, prioritize the prepositioning of supplies, equipment and personnel for immediate response, and brace themselves for the typhoon.’’
The DILG’s Operation Listo provides for protocols to be followed by local chief executives (LCE) during a disaster, requires them to be present in their respective units, and calls for preemptive evacuation procedures, especially in low-lying areas.
He noted that Año also personally attended and actively participated in the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) meetings as the country prepared for typhoon “Ulysses.”
“Also, the LGUs activated their respective Barangay Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils (DRRMCs) for early warning measures and monitoring of areas susceptible to flood and storm surges’’, he added.
As the typhoon was wreaking havoc, Malaya maintained that the DILG was conducting information dissemination actions using all media platforms to update the public about typhoon developments.
After the typhoon, Malaya said Año immediately deployed 3,267 personnel from the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) to Cagayan and Isabela provinces to conduct search, rescue and disaster response operations.
“Both agencies were put on red alert on the day Ulysses was expected to make landfall,’’ Malaya noted.
The DILG conducted these operations in coordination with the rescue teams of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and local government units.
“Reserve contingents from other police and fire regional offices were tapped for rapid deployment to augment those already deployed,’’ he added.
The DILG noted that 363 rescue teams composed of 25,000 PNP officers and 10,147 BFP personnel were dispatched to regions affected in Luzon, including the National Capital Region (NCR) that aided the families and individuals affected by the weather disturbance.
Malaya said the PNP rescued and evacuated some 104,850 individuals while the BFP rescued and assisted 58,682 individuals.
He added that the PNP secured some 13,526 evacuation centers while the BFP monitored 1,861 evacuation centers across the country.
“Such massive courses of action would not slip anyone with open eyes. I’d say you did not do your homework when you lapped up the lie that the Secretary was missing in action during this critical period,’’ Malaya stressed.
Malaya detailed the course of action taken by the DILG secretary in response to the criticisms of “lawyer Wilfredo Garrido.’’
“We strongly condemn your malicious and baseless imputation. For security reasons and to prevent accusations of being “epal” in this time of crisis, the DILG Secretary need not publicize 24/7 his whereabouts and how he does his work. It is not a crime to quietly do your job,’’ Malaya emphasized.
“Such massive courses of action would not slip anyone with open eyes. I’d say you did not do your homework when you lapped up the lie that the Secretary was missing in action during this critical period,’’ he concluded.