MANILA – The government has exerted all efforts to disseminate warnings on the impact of Typhoon Ulysses ahead of its onslaught in the country.
In a virtual presser on Thursday, Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Assistant Secretary Casiano Monilla said some people opted to disregard these warnings as they relied on the prevailing weather situation rather than the advisory given by the authorities.
“Kung minsan lang kasi, kapag nag-ikot ang local officials ay hindi kaagad sumusunod ang mga kababayan. Mas nagre-rely tayo kung ano ang ating nararamdaman, kung ano ang prevailing na situation na nararamdaman other than the advice na binibigay ng PAGASA (Sometimes, when local officials go around advising people, the latter do not obey. They rely on their gut feeling or the prevailing situation rather than the advice given by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration),” Monilla added.
He said the government was not caught flat-footed by Typhoon 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 have 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.
“Knowing our current handicap in communications dahil sa effect ni Super Typhoon Rolly, ginamit natin ‘yung communication systems ng PNP, AFP at iba pang ahensiya para siguradong makarating ang information sa communities (due to the effect of ‘Rolly’, we used the communication systems of the PNP, AFP, and other agencies to ensure that information would reach the communities),” Jalad said.
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.
He declined to comment on what percentage of the NCR was flooded, saying they were still gathering data on the matter.
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 to save affected residents of Marikina City. Priam Nepomuceno and Christopher Lloyd Caliwan / PNA – northboundasia.com