THE Philippine National Police (PNP) will go on full alert starting 6 a.m. Thursday, September 13, to prepare for Typhoon Ompong (international name Mangkhut), which has entered the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) as of 3 p.m. Wednesday afternoon.
PNP chief Oscar Albayalde said he also ordered the activation of the mobile force battalion to augment the police personnel in central and northern Luzon, the areas threatened by the typhoon's potentially catastrophic winds.
“Kasi ‘yung mga pulis natin they can be victims also. Madalas ‘yung mga pulis natin especially ‘yung mga nakatira sa mismong area kung saan sila naka-assign kung minsan sila din ay victims ng typhoons or disasters that's why we have the mobile forces and the regional mobile forces para mag-augment sa kanila.
(Police personnel could be victims, too. Those residing in areas hit by typhoons are often affected that's why we have the mobile forces and the regional mobile forces to augment them.)
"‘Yung Yolanda before mga local police natin hindi rin nakapag-react, it's because they too were victims of the super typhoon,” said Albayalde.
(When Yolanda hit, our local police failed to respond. It was because they too were victims of the super typhoon.)
The PNP chief also urged his men assigned in the areas forecast to be hit by the typhoon to plan ahead and secure their families so that they can provide service to the people later on.
“They have to anticipate the storm at secure na ‘yung kanilang pamilya, gamit so that anytime kailanganin ‘yung kanilang presence and assistance doon sa station makakapag-responde sila,” he said.
At the Malacañang, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. advised the people who will be directly hit by the storm to monitor updates, store enough food, and prepare emergency kits.
"Hinihikayat po natin ang mga kababayan na umantabay sa mga ulat, balita, abiso at anunsiyo mula sa mga istasyon ng gobyerno, maging sa social media accounts ng mga ahensiya ng pamahalaan," he said.
(We are enjoining everyone to monitor the reports, news, alerts, and announcements from the government agencies and their respective social media accounts.)
"Alamin ang evacuation plan sa inyong lugar. Huwag din po nating kalimutang maghanda ng flashlight at radyo na may bagong baterya, sapat na pagkain, maiinom na tubig, gas, baterya at first-aid supplies. Iwasan din po natin ang mga mabababang luhat, pampang, bangin, at paanan ng mga burol at bundok," he added.
(Know the evacuation plan in your areas. Let us not forget to flashlight, radio, new batteries, enough food, drinking water, gas, and first-aid supplies. Avoid going to low places, shores, cliffs, and foot of the hills and mountains.)
The Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said Typhoon Ompong was spotted around 8 a.m. at 1,190 kilometers (km) east northeast of Guiuan, Eastern Samar with maximum sustained winds of 205 km per hour (kph) near the center with gustiness of up to 255 kph.
It is moving westward at 20 kph and is forecast to affect a large part of Luzon such as Cagayan-Batanes Area, Ilocos, Palawan Mindoro and some areas in Western Visayas.
Pagasa said Ompong is intensifying and could bring heavy to intense rain, storm surges in coastal areas and “very” strong winds which can topple trees and electric posts.
The weather department warned of possible massive flooding and landslides.
Meanwhile, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (NDRRMC) spokesperson Edgar Posadas said in anticipation of a “very” strong typhoon, local governments were urged to implement pre-emptive evacuation particularly in the areas which will be badly affected.
He said food packs and rescue and search equipment have been pre-positioned in strategic areas.
The NDRRMC has also placed its operating units on red alert to ensure the 24/7 coordination between the concerned government agencies.
Roque said the government has already taken all necessary measures.
"Nakikipag-ugnayan na po ang gobyerno sa mga ahensiyang may kinalaman sa disaster preparedness para sa kanilang mabilis na pag-tugon sa mga maaaring maapektuhan ng bagyong Ompong," he said.
(The government is coordinating with agencies involved in disaster preparedness to ensure immediate response to those who will be affected by Typhoon Ompong.)
"As I speak, there is an ongoing pre-disaster risk assessment meeting now to ensure the orchestrated response of the government to typhoon Mangkhut," he added. (SunStar Philippines)