MANILA – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Archie Gamboa on Thursday directed all unit commanders to work with the local disaster risk reduction management councils (DRRMCs) of areas that might be affected by Typhoon Ambo.
This to ensure the public’s safety amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
“Amid challenges faced by the PNP, it will remain resolute and ready for disaster preparedness and response operations to protect lives and properties from Typhoon Ambo as it continues to defend our citizens from Covid-19,” PNP spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said in a statement.
He said the PNP will continue enforcing strict quarantine guidelines in affected areas as it coordinates with the local government units and other law enforcement agencies for a unified course of action to protect the public from both Ambo and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Banac said all PNP response operations for Ambo shall observe the minimum health standards such as wearing of face masks, face shields, gloves, social distancing, regular washing of hands, use of alcohol and sanitizers and other measures as it prepares for the first typhoon in the country since the outbreak.
Meanwhile, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has already alerted its disaster response units.
“(We are) on alert. It’s part of the SOP (standard operating procedure) that whenever there is an incoming severe weather disturbance all AFP units in and adjacent to the areas of concern are alerted and their respective disaster response units placed on stand by in collaboration with the DRRMCs. This includes personnel, materiel, and related capabilities for disaster response and assistance. DRRMCs are the lead and AFP units will provide support,” AFP public affairs office chief, Navy Capt. Jonathan Zata said in a message.
Navy flag-officer-in-command, Vice Adm. Giovanni Carlo Bacordo, said they will also be an active partner of the government in disaster response and relief operations amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
He already issued an order directing all the naval operating forces from northern to southern Luzon to implement their respective disaster mitigation plans and ensure proactive measures on the possible onslaught of the typhoon.
“All PN units are alert in monitoring the situation for possible deployment and search and rescue operations. Disaster response and rescue teams (DRRT) are on standby and ready for deployment to ensure the timely response and assistance to the victims of typhoon. Safety of personnel, aircraft and vessel is paramount at all times,” Bacordo said in a statement.
On Thursday noon, Ambo made landfall over the town of San Policarpo in Eastern Samar.
Ambo packs maximum sustained winds of up to 155 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center and gusts of up to 190 kph.
Moving west at 15 kph, the typhoon is moving closer towards the Bicol Region. (IA/With reports from Priam F. Nepomuceno/PNA)