Bicol braces for 'Hagupit'

All disaster response units of the Southern Luzon Command have been alerted for possible severe effects of the tropical storm known internationally as "Hagupit."

"Southern Luzon is bracing against the typhoon which is expected to enter Philippine Area of Responsibility this weekend and will be renamed 'Ruby'," Major Angelo Guzman, the command's spokesperson said.

Guzman revealed that Southern Luzon Command head Major Gen. Ricardo R. Visaya has already directed all his units to be prepared – equipment- and manpower-wise.

He directed subordinate commanders to make proper coordination with their counterparts in the DRRMCs (Disaster Risk Reduction Management Councils).

9th Infantry Division’s chief-for-operations Lt. Col. Michael Buhat said that all Army units in Bicol were already alerted and their respective DRUs are all on standby in their headquarters.

Buhat said that the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) 5 called for a meeting with line agencies Tuesday.

In Albay, Col. Raul Farnacio, 901st Infantry Brigade commander, said that they are already in coordination with OCD 5 after the weather bureau warned of a possible landfall.

“All units with disaster response operations capabilities were tasked to standby by their forces,” Farnacio said.

He also said that he has instructed the commanding officers of the 2nd Infantry Battalion in Albay and the 83rd Infantry Battalion in Catanduanes to coordinate with local government units and disaster response agencies in their respective area.

Col. Cesar Idio, 903rd Infantry Brigade commander, said that in Sorsogon, his unit has a regular Disaster Response Task Group that is automatically alerted even before a typhoon threatens Sorsogon and Masbate.

The 903rd Infantry Brigade has a platoon-sized DRU on standby and is equipped with mobility asset, chainsaws, utility ropes, lifesaving vests, hard hats and other rescue equipment in performing their tasks.

“In this region that is frequented by natural calamities, humanitarian assistance and disaster response is a major effort of the Southern Luzon Command,” Visaya said.

He said that if needed, all available lift and mobility assets will be utilized. (PNA)
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