The government exerted all efforts to disseminate warnings on the impact of Typhoon “Ulysses” ahead of its onslaught in the country, ,Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Assistant Secretary Casiano Monilla said.
In a virtual presser on Thursday multicast by the Presidential Communications Operations Office, Monilla said some people opted to disregard the warnings as they relied on the prevailing weather situation rather than the advisory given by authorities.
“Sometimes when local officials make the rounds to give warnings, the people themselves don’t listen to the warning. And we rely more on what we perceive, on what the prevailing situation is other than the advise given by PAGASA,” he said in Filipino. PAGASA is the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration.
He said the government was not caught flat-footed by Ulysses as warnings had been made on its strength and impact, days before it made landfall.
Monilla also denied any lapse on PAGASA’s part because it presented several models during the Pre-Disaster Risk Assessment meetings.
He said they requested the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to mobilize its assets for rescue operations in the National Capital Region (NCR).
Monilla added that AFP units responding to this request were advised to coordinate with the local government units (LGUs) to determine the incident to which they would be responding.
When asked for an initial report on the damage caused by Ulysses, he said they were still collating data, especially on evacuees and other persons affected by the typhoon’s onslaught.
In a separate message to reporters, OCD Administrator and National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Executive Director Ricardo Jalad said warnings were not only made by LGUs but were also cascaded by the AFP and Philippine National Police (PNP) to vulnerable communities.
Meanwhile, Monilla said private companies that have assets that could be used in rescue work have been advised to coordinate with the LGU emergency operation centers to determine what kind of rescue mission would get priority.
Meanwhile, NDRRMC chair, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, said “huge damage” was apparent from the initial information gathered.
“Huge damage. Totally flooded villages, low-lying areas flooded, blown-off structures,” Lorenzana said.
He said he has briefed President Rodrigo Duterte on what the AFP was doing for affected residents of Marikina City. SOVEREIGNPH