Army warns local officials on forced evacuation-A A +A
Saturday, August 18, 2012
ARAYAT -- A top official of the Philippine Army’s (PA) 703rd Infantry Brigade stationed in this town has cautioned local leaders of the implication of forced evacuation of residents during flooding.
Brigadier General Gregorio Pio Catapang, commander of the PA 703rd Infantry Brigade, said forcing residents to evacuate even if it is against their will is a violation of their human rights.
The military official noted that several residents in the fourth district of the province refused to vacate their houses despite the directive of Governor Lilia Pineda to temporarily transfer on higher grounds.
Pineda earlier urged the concerned municipal mayors to convince their constituents to evacuate following her directive on forced evacuation. Her order came as a result of the overflowing of Pampanga River and breaches in San Fernando-Sto. Tomas-Minalin tail dike.
Many endangered residents, however, ignored the call for evacuation and opted to guard their properties instead.
Catapang suggested to the municipal mayors to designate pick-up points in their respective communities for the evacuation of the flood-hit residents.
He said they could hardly implement forced evacuation in some areas in the fourth district as the residents insist on staying in their houses despite the impending danger.
"Wala pong forced evacuation sa amin dahil sanay na ang mga tao sa mataas ng tubig. Sa halip, ang kailangan namin ay pagkain at malinis na tubig," San Luis Mayor Venancio Macapagal previously told the press.
“Kapag may nangyari sa mga nasasakupan ninyo, wala na kaming kinalaman. Ginawa na namin ang obligasyon namin at sinabihan kayo na lumikas na,” Governor Pineda pointed out.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on August 18, 2012.