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Cops deployed to flooded areas

Police personnel and equipment were deployed yesterday in various parts of Metro Manila and other areas affected by heavy rains spawned by southwest monsoon or habagat to help in evacuation and relief assistance to those who were trapped and affected by ensuing massive flooding.

Director General Oscar Albayalde, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), said they have started mobilizing their disaster response teams in Metro Manila and other provinces as early as Monday when weather experts warned of rains.

“We have already activated our disaster response units to augment local police units and the local government units in responding to the effects of rains and flooding,” said Albayalde.

Aside from Metro Manila where deep flooding was experienced, also affected were the provinces of Zambales, Bataan, Cavite, Batangas, Mindoro Provinces, Palawan and some parts of Western Visayas.

Class and work suspensions were effected yesterday as a result of the bad weather condition.

Albayalde said he also instructed his men to mobilize vehicles that would ferry stranded commuters who were either trapped in various public utility vehicle pick up points or could not find available means of transport to go home.

“We are also ready for any eventuality. We have a disaster action plan every time things like this happen,” said Albayalde.

Part of it, according to him, is the activation of the National Headquarters Disaster Incident Management Task Group (DIMTG), an updated and enhanced plan of action of the PNP on disaster preparedness and response management in support to other concerned agencies.

PNP disaster response-capable units include, Special Action Force, Maritime Group, Highway Patrol Group, Police Community Relations Group, as well as the Regional Public Safety Battalions.

“These units were instructed to coordinate closely with local disaster management officials and local government units for possible enforcement of forced evacuation in flood-stricken areas due to heavy rains,” said Albayalde.

Policemen, along with soldiers, are usually the front-liners in disaster response for manpower and equipment. (Aaron Recuenco)