MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Thursday announced it alerted all of its search, rescue and retrieval units for possible humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR) operations in areas that might be affected by the looming Super Typhoon Mawar.
"All unified commands and major services were already directed to muster and check the readiness of HADR equipment and assets; preposition HADR units; assist LGUs (local government units) in evacuations; and participate in coordination meetings and planning activities," AFP spokesperson Col. Medel Aguilar said in a statement.
Medel said vehicles and personnel are being prepared to assist in the mandatory evacuation of residents in vulnerable areas.
Aguilar added that air and naval assets are also on standby for deployment for future aerial assessment, transport, and evacuation operations.
Over 12,000 personnel including reservists are alerted as first responders while more than 2,800 land transportation, air and water assets shall be deployed for the HADR operations.
Additional troops and assets will be committed when necessary.
"We, therefore, call on the public to be vigilant and to take precautionary measures as advised by competent authorities. Let us all do our part in ensuring the safety not just of the affected communities but of our responders as well," he added.
AFP prepositions food packs in Batanes
As this developed, the AFP transported some 850 boxes or 7,395 kilos of family food packs to Batanes via Lockheed C-130 "Hercules" transport aircraft Thursday.
AFP public affairs office chief Col. Jorry Baclor said this is in preparation for the possible impact of the super typhoon to the province.
The relief goods were provided by the Department of Social Welfare and Development and were loaded at the Tuguegarao Airport with help from the DSWD Regional Office 2, Office of Civil Defense Region 2, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, Philippine Coastguard, Philippine National Police, and personnel of the Air Force's Tactical Operations Group 2.
DPWH on alert
Meanwhile, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Manuel Bonoan has ordered the activation of Disaster Risk Reduction Management (DRRM) teams of the agency's Regional and District Engineering Offices (DEOs) in preparation for the weather disturbance.
“Our quick response assets composed of maintenance crew with equipment are now strategically prepositioned along national roads to respond to possible road closures and obstructions,” he said in a statement.
“Earlier, Regional and DEOs were also instructed to prune trees, de-clog drainage and clear waterways to prevent/mitigate road accidents and flooding on the onset of the typhoon,” the DPWH chief added.
Bonoan said as a standard procedure, the quick response teams shall monitor and report the status of national roads and bridges,
He said the teams are also tasked to clear national roads from road obstruction, identify alternative routes to ensure unhampered deliver of goods and services, and provide temporary structures to restore mobility when necessary.
Mawar is expected to enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility by late Friday or early Saturday and will be given the local name Betty.
The super typhoon is expected to further strengthen while traversing the country's waters and might enhance the southwest monsoon, bringing rains over the western parts of Luzon and Visayas beginning Sunday or Monday. (with Ferdinand Patinio/PNA)