HEAVY rains in Luzon which triggered massive flooding and killed a man in Baguio City prompted the deployment of over 1,000 policemen in Cordillera, Central Luzon and Mimaropa regions to assist in rescue-and-relief operations, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar said on Saturday.
According to the top cop, he has mobilized concerned PNP national and regional units with disaster response capabilities to help people displaced by extreme weather conditions in many parts of Luzon.
He said that concerned police commanders are closely coordinating with local Disaster Risk Reduction Management officials for possible deployment of PNP personnel and resources to areas affected by flooding, landslides and infrastructure damage caused by heavy monsoon rains spawned by tropical cyclone Fabian.
As of Saturday, the PNP Command Center in Camp Crame said there are already a total of 1,064 policemen deployed in 132 evacuation centers across Luzon which are now providing temporary shelter to 1,755 families composed of 5,858 individuals.
Eleazar also alerted the PNP Battle Staff to muster PNP Food Bank resources to augment national and local government support to these evacuees.
The PNP national headquarters said one person died and another was injured by a fallen tree in Camp 8, Baguio City.
It also reported that 33 passengers and 140 vehicles got stranded in seaports in Mimaropa region where sea travel was suspended due to rough seas.
A total of 64 roads were rendered unpassable in Metro Manila, Calabarzon, Mimaropa and Cordillera regions due to floods or landslide, while 57 areas experienced power outages, and seven franchise areas are without mobile communication service.
Eleazar instructed the PNP Highway Patrol Group to field mobile units to assist motorists along national highways in navigating through detour routes to avoid road hazards, particularly cargo vehicles transporting food products.
He said that 539 PNP search-and-rescue (SAR) personnel have been deployed in five Luzon regions where emergency situations have been reported.
On standby are six SAR personnel and 2,129 Reactionary Standby Support Force awaiting orders to be deployed in distressed communities, particularly in 85 flooded areas in Regions 1, 3, 4B, NCR and Cordillera region.
These units are equipped with 1,585 vehicles, 90 inflatable boats, 2,868 life vests, 1,037 radio sets and 292 power generator sets.
Eleazar likewise instructed local PNP units to initiate road clearing operations for hazards and debris to allow unimpeded passage of emergency response vehicles, relief supplies and commercial cargo.
In Benguet, local policemen have been helping in road-clearing and road safety operations and are patrolling different areas in the province to check road conditions as well as areas affected by landslides, said Cordillera police director Brigadier Gen. Ronald O. Lee.
While conducting patrols, local policemen have also been giving warnings to motorists they encounter to be extra cautious on the road. Most of the municipalities in Benguet were affected by landslides, prompting the police officers to assist in road-clearing operations, said Lee.
Eleazar commended the cops for ensuring the safety of the public and motorists amid the inclement weather.
Weather forecast for the next 24 hours indicate that the prevailing southwest monsoon will continue to bring moderate to heavy with at times intense rains over Zambales, Bataan and Occidental Mindoro; and moderate to heavy rains over Ilocos Region, Abra, Benguet, Tarlac, Pampanga, Cavite and Batangas.
Meanwhile, light to moderate with at times heavy rains will prevail over Metro Manila, the rest of Cordillera Administrative Region, Bulacan, Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Northern Palawan, including Calamian and Kalayaan Islands.