Over 27,000 PNP personnel to assist in ‘Betty’ evacuation, rescue ops

Photo from PNP
Photo from PNP

THE Philippine National Police (PNP) has fielded over 27,000 personnel to assist local government units (LGUs) in the conduct of operations in areas affected by Typhoon Betty (Mawar), which is bringing heavy rains especially in the northern Luzon.

In a press conference on Monday, May 29, 2023, PNP Chief General Benjamin Acorda Jr. said he instructed police commanders in Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon and Cordillera Administrative Region to mobilize all Regional Mobile Force Battalions, including the Provincial Mobile Force Companies, as part of the government’s response.

They will take part in the conduct of preemptive evacuation, and rescue and relief operations.

“The PNP National Headquarters Critical Incident Management Committee, of which I am the chairman, has been activated to monitor, coordinate, and direct all disaster response efforts of PNP Units,” said Acorda.

“PNP units at the municipal, city, and provincial levels are under specific instructions to keep all national highways and thoroughfares clear of road debris and obstruction to ensure unhampered passage of emergency vehicles, rescue equipment, and relief aid convoys to disaster-affected areas,” he added.

Acorda said they are now also coordinating with local disaster risk reduction and management officials and the Department of Social Welfare and Development in anticipation of the effect of Betty, which was formerly under super typhoon category.

He said the warehouses and distribution hubs of food packs and relief goods are also being secured by local police forces.

At present, the PNP has 4,650 trained personnel for Water Search and Rescue (Wasar), 7,371 trained personnel for Search and Rescue (SAR), 8,806 Life Vest, 77 SAR Boats, and 1,730 units of search and rescue equipment vehicles consisting of 1,496 personnel carriers, and 234 units of Troop Carrier, including 625 portable electric generator sets.

Local governments in Batac City and Pasuquin Ilocos Norte have ordered the suspension of classes from pre-school to secondary level in public and private schools due to the weather disturbance.

Pasuquin Mayor Robert said suspension of classes will remain in effect until further notice.

In an update, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said Betty has slightly decelerated while moving northwestward over the waters east of Cagayan.

As of 10 a.m. Monday, May 29, its center was spotted at 470 kilometers east of Aparri, Cagayan, or 475 kilometers east of Calayan, Cagayan with maximum sustained winds of 155 kilometers per hour (km/h) near the center, gusts of up to 190 km/h, and central pressure of 950 hPa.

Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal (TCWS) Number 2 was hoisted over Batanes and the northeastern portion of Cagayan (Santa Ana, Gonzaga) including Babuyan Island.

The range of wind speed in these areas is 62 to 88 km/h in the next 24 hours with minor to moderate threat to life and property.

The rest of mainland Cagayan, Isabela, Apayao, Ilocos Norte, Abra, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Ifugao, the northern and central portions of Aurora (Dilasag, Casiguran, Dinalungan, Dipaculao, Baler), Quirino, the northeastern portion of Nueva Vizcaya (Kasibu, Quezon, Solano, Bagabag, Diadi, Villaverde, Bayombong, Ambaguio), the northern portion of Catanduanes (Caramoran, Viga, Gigmoto, Panganiban, Bagamanoc, Pandan), the northeastern portion of Camarines Sur (Caramoan, Garchitorena, Lagonoy, Tinambac, Siruma), Pollilo Islands, the northern portion of Camarines Norte (Vinzons, Paracale, Jose Panganiban, Capalonga, Talisay, Daet, Mercedes, Basud) and the northern and central portions of Ilocos Sur (Gregorio del Pilar, Magsingal, San Esteban, Banayoyo, Cervantes, Burgos, Santiago, San Vicente, Santa Catalina, Lidlidda, Nagbukel, Sinait, Sigay, San Ildefonso, Galimuyod, Quirino, City of Vigan, San Emilio, Cabugao, Caoayan, San Juan, Santa, Bantay, Santo Domingo, Santa Maria, Narvacan, Salcedo, City of Candon) were placed under TCWS 1.

Wind speed ranging from 39 to 61 km/h is expected in these areas within the next 36 hours with minimal to minor threat to life and property.

“On the track forecast, Betty will move generally northwestward slowly today and may become slow-moving or almost stationary from tomorrow to Wednesday while over the waters east of Batanes. Afterwards, the typhoon will turn north northeastward or northeastward on late Wednesday or Thursday and gradually accelerate towards the waters east of Taiwan and the southern portion of Ryukyu Islands,” said Pagasa.

“This typhoon is forecast to steadily weaken over the next five days due to cooler ocean waters (caused by upwelling of cooler waters in its wake) and dry air intrusion. Betty may be downgraded into a severe tropical storm on late Thursday or early Friday and into a tropical storm on late Friday or early Saturday,” it added.

Betty may exit the Philippine area of responsibility on Friday, June 2. (SunStar Philippines)


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