Nearly 9,000 PNP, BFP personnel deployed in areas hit by Agaton- Año

A total of 8,823 Philippine National Police (PNP) and Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) uniformed men were deployed in areas hit by tropical depression to assist in the search, rescue and retrieval operations, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo M. Año confirmed Tuesday, April 19.

“Responding to the urgent need to assist our kababayans, a total of 8,823 men and women from both the PNP and BFP were deployed in major areas of the Visayas region affected and hit by 'Agaton'. Bago pa man magland-fall (Agaton) ay nakaposisyon na ang ating mga bumbero at kapulisan upang tiyakin ang kaligtasan ng ating mga kababayan (Before its landfall the firefighters and police officers were already in position to ensure public safety),’’ Año said.

Año emphasized that the PNP and BFP uniformed personnel have coordinated with the concerned local counterparts in the evacuation, search and rescue operations.

He noted that 5,230 firefighters; 404 Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and 698 Search, Rescue and Retrieval (SRR) personnel from the BFP were deployed in various typhoon hit local government units (LGUs).

The DILG chief added that 6,332 BFP personnel were positioned and were on stand-by in 14 landslide-prone areas of Regions VI, VIII and CARAGA.

Año said the BFP also mobilized 1,010 fire trucks, 30 hazmat/rescue trucks, 28 ambulances, 11 watercraft which were utilized to respond to evacuation and search and rescue operations.

"All hands on deck ang BFP sa pagtugon sa mga hamon nitong si 'Agaton'. Inilaan ng BFP ang mga resources na ito na rumesponde sa mga lugar na nakaranas nang matinding pag-ulan (is the BFP in response to the challenged poised by Agaton. The BFP handed its resources in responding to the hardest-rained areas),’’ he said.

He also noted that the PNP deployed a total of 2,491 police officers in high-risk and hard-hit areas in Regions VIII and CARAGA.

Of this number, a total of 2,434 were from the PNP Reactionary Standby Support Force, 48 police officers, four were deployed in evacuation centers, two in vacated areas and two in evacuated communities.

“PNP resources such as the 2,314 SRR capabilities and equipment were likewise mobilized to assist and save typhoon victims. Ang pamunuan ng PNP ay kumpleto na rin sa kagamitan at nai-deploy sa ilang high-risk areas sa Regions VIII at CARAGA (The PNP leadership have complete equipment which were deployed in a number of high-risk areas in Regions VIII and CARAGA),’’ he added.

DILG Undersecretary Jonathan E. Malaya earlier said the department and its attached agencies are ready to assist in the rescue and rehabilitation efforts and have activated Emergency Operation Centers (EOC) to assist LGUs as 'Agaton' pounces on the Visayas region.

"Bago pa dumating ang Bagyong Agaton ay na-activate na ng DILG ang aming EOCs at mayroon din kaming EOC para sa mga lugar na nadaanan ng bagyo. Nag-issue din kami ng warnings at advisory sa lahat ng LGUs na paigtingin ang kanilang disaster preparedness (Before Typhoon Agaton arrived the DILG had activated our EOC and we also have the EOC for the areas hit by the typhoon. We also issued a warning and advisory to all the LGUs to enhance their disaster preparedness),’’ Malaya said.

Malaya added that the DILG had also coordinated with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) to focus immediately on the rescue and rehabilitation process after the typhoon.

Typhoon Agaton (international name Megi) made its landfall over Basey, Samar on April 11 and remained stationary until it weakened into a low pressure area (LPA) leaving 172 people dead and 110 missing as of April 18. (Chito A. Chavez)