(File photo)

MANILA – Reports on casualties from the recent onslaught of Typhoon Odette coming from the Philippine National Police (PNP) should be treated as raw as these would have to be verified by the country's top disaster response agency, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said on Tuesday.

"The PNP report is still considered as raw. Those deaths will still be validated by DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government) and NDRRMC (National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council). Yung iba kasi diyan ay maaaring hindi directly caused by the typhoon like nagkasakit or nakuryente pero after na ng dumaan ang bagyo (Some of the deaths may not be directly caused by the typhoon, say they got sick or electrocuted after the typhoon has passed through). Each death shall be accounted for and the cadaver must be found, " Año told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

This came as the PNP, in its latest consolidated report as of midnight on Tuesday, said at least 375 were killed, 515 were injured and 56 remain missing in the aftermath of "Odette".

Meanwhile, the NDRRMC reported that as of Tuesday morning, the casualty count from the typhoon has climbed to 156, with 37 missing and 275 injured.

It was, however, clarified that only nine deaths and two injured have so far been validated.

Meanwhile, under a state of calamity are Butuan City and 11 other towns in Agusan del Norte, and the provinces of Cebu, Bohol, Southern Leyte, and Negros Occidental.

The PNP, Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) are attached agencies under the DILG.

"Yung report nila (PNP) pupunta naman yan sa (Their report will still go to the) NDRRMC. The official figure will be coming from NDRRMC. I already advised the PNP to validate and submit the report to DILG and NDRRMC," Año said.

In a statement, PNP spokesperson Col. Roderick Alba said the reports of casualties from their units on the ground are further documented and investigated.

"The reported casualties are submitted to Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and these are subject to validation by OCD, DILG, and DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development. All PNP Units handling these data exercise due diligence and care to preclude possibilities of redundant or omitted entry that may compromise the accuracy of the information," Alba said.

He, meanwhile, said the government has been working to reach out to all affected residents at the soonest possible time to give them relief goods or assistance.

Alba's remarks came after reports of looting particularly in the areas severely hit by Typhoon Odette.

“Actually nakarating din yung information na iyan sa amin (that information also reached us). We do understand na yung ang focus ng ating mga kababayan (that the focus of our fellow Filipinos) is more on survival and yung kinakailangan nilang essentials (their essential needs) probably,” Alba said in an interview with PTV-4

Alba, however, said they have yet to officially receive any looting complaints.

“We will not just watch these things happen. The instruction of our PNP chief is to be pro-active and these things will be included in our post-operation. Nilalatag na ang post operation ng PNP (The post operation of the PNP is in place ) to secure the belongings and properties and kabahayan (houses) as well as establishments na naiwan ng mga (left by the) evacuees.

Alba said they are always ready to assist the government in securing peace and order in queues for gasoline and water.

“The DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) has asked for help in implementing the price freeze. The PNP is all over the place willing to assist. Any type of problem, just go to the nearest PNP post. Even if our own police were also victims, they will assist. As our mandate is to protect and serve,” he said. (with Priam Nepomuceno/PNA)