MANILA—Special Action Force (SAF) police personnel conducting search and rescue (SAR) operations in Itogon,Benguet are hoping to recover bodies and survivors from landslides following Typhoon Ompong, Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesman Police Police Senior Supt. Benigno Durana Jr. said Tuesday.
“Sabi nga ng chief PNP (Just like what the chief PNP said) ‘we will not lose hope and with your prayers, we will not stop until the last of our fellow Filipinos are accounted para naman lahat ay mabigyan ng karapat dapat ng libing ng kanilang pamilya‘ (for them to be given a proper burial by their families),” Durana told newsmen on the ongoing operations by two teams in Brgy. Ucab, Itocon, Benguet.
“We are still hoping that na maka-recover tayo ng buhay (to find survivors). Di natin alam (We don’t know). Yun ang inaasahan ng ating kapulisan (That’s what our personnel expect). But so far as the days pass by, the chances become slim but there are miracles with God’s help,” Durana said.
Reports said up to 100 more persons may have become victims in the landslide. At least 74 remain missing in Region 1 (Ilocos) and 2 (Cagayan Valley) following the typhoon.
The two 24-man SAF teams use life detection equipment to help in its recovery efforts.
PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde has ordered that police personnel be assigned en masse in repacking and relief distribution centers, Durana said.
Meanwhile, Durana said it will be up to the Depatment of the Interior and Local Government to investigate and determine liabilities of local officials ,if any, in case there had been a failure to comply with minimum preemptive evacuation and other preparations in the affected areas.
“We can learn lessons from it,” Durana said of the tragedy. Benjamin Pulta/PNA-northboundasia.com