SEARCH. Policemen digging out debris to find landslide victims in Baybay City in this April 20, 2022 photo. The Philippine National Police sent on Thursday (April 21, 2022) its third batch of search, rescue and retrieval (SRR) personnel to villages in Baybay City and Abuyog, Leyte. (Photo courtesy of PNP Eastern Visayas)

TACLOBAN CITY – The Philippine National Police (PNP) has sent its third batch search, rescue and retrieval (SRR) to villages in Baybay City and Abuyog, Leyte.

The PNP regional office conducted a send-off ceremony for the team at the regional headquarters in Palo, Leyte on Thursday.

They will be replacing the other 100 previously augmented personnel after a week of post-disaster duties.

At least 70 of them are assigned in Baybay City and 30 are on duty in Abuyog town.

“This shifting of schedule of our men and women deployed in said areas is necessary for them to perform their tasks effectively and efficiently. We want our personnel to be healthy and able,” PNP Eastern Visayas regional director Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said.

The policemen will join firefighters from the Bureau of Fire Protection in their search for more bodies buried by the massive landslides. Their efforts are in coordination with local government units.

The PNP sent its first batch of 100 rescuers on April 10. Another team replaced them after three days and worked in landslide-hit communities for one week.

During 10-day search, policemen have already rescued some 3,000 landslide survivors and retrieved about 170 bodies buried by debris.

Reports reaching the police regional office showed that there are 602 villages affected by Tropical Depression Agaton, displacing 111,230 families in Eastern Visayas region. (PNA)