Air Force helicopters have flown relief goods to Batanes, one of the northern provinces expected to be hit by typhoon “Mawar” when it enters the country on Friday night or early Saturday morning, the military’s Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) said on Friday.
The 850 boxes of food packs, which included food, water and other items, were airlifted on Thursday, amid the government’s massive preparation for the typhoon, which will be called “Betty” when it enters the Philippine area of responsibility.
Military spokesman Col. Jorry Baclor said the relief items were provided by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and were loaded at the Tuguegarao Airport with help from the DSWD Regional Office 2, Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Region 2, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine National Police and personnel of the Tactical Operations Group 2.
Earlier, the military alerted all search, rescue, and retrieval units for humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations in areas expected to be affected by the typhoon.
A total of 7,970 personnel, 4,242 CAFGU Active Auxiliary members and 180 reservists were tapped as first responders. 2,518 land transportation assets, 20 air assets and 265 water assets were also mobilized for the response operations.
“Aside from constantly coordinating with various LGUs and line agencies in the different regions in mitigating the effects of Betty, we are closely working with NGOs to continuously gather relief goods, which are to be rationed before and after Betty strikes the islands of Luzon,” said NOLCOM commander Lt. Gen. Fernyl Buca.
Meanwhile, NDRRMC chairman and Defense Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has reiterated his concern for government agencies to mitigate any danger amid warning of intensified monsoon rains to the communities that will be affected.
Galvez presided over the NDRRMC’s meeting on Thursday, which was attended by heads of government agencies.
The different agencies and regional offices presented their preparedness assessments as well as their recommendations for future disaster relief operations during the meeting.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) disseminated information to the local government units (LGUs), warning the public to avoid areas affected by repeated flooding.
The advisories called for everyone to be vigilant in the monitoring of areas showing signs of landslide. The DENR also cautioned the LGUs to be aware of the geo-hazards in their respective areas and know the appropriate disaster mitigation measures to apply.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) likewise assured the council that they are closely monitoring the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Geophysical, Astronomical Services Administration (DOST-Pagasa) bulletins and advisories and have been continuously informing and advising all communities on the situation and preparedness actions in the localities.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), on the other hand, reported that they have already prepositioned food packs and non-food items for the families that will most likely be affected by the typhoon.
“Relief operations require data, and we thank all the agencies, especially the DND [Department of National Defense] and the DOST for giving us these to help us deliver accurate services to our stakeholders,” DSWD Secretary Rexlon Gatchalian said.
Galvez reiterated that all agencies must act as one in order to properly execute the plans to minimize damages and casualties.
“All agencies, especially the OCD [Office of Civil Defense], DILG, and the AFP[Armed Forces of the Philippines], should prepare for the onset of this typhoon, so that we can help as many Filipinos as we can,” he said.