Roxas orders creation of PNP protocol for disasters

QUEZON CITY--During his weekly briefing on Friday, Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) to take the lead in creating a protocol for police response in times of disasters.

"In times of disaster, police presence also means government presence. A protocol in times of disaster can help ensure this," Roxas told General Danilo Constantino, Director for Police Community Relations of the PNP.

During the meeting, Gen. Constantino reported that the PNP-Special Action Force (SAF) was deployed in Eastern Samar while other units were put on standby for immediate response in the aftermath of typhoon Ruby.

Although Roxas previously reported that there were no reported incidents of looting in Eastern Samar, he still stressed the need for a deliberate, programmatic and sustained approach in enforcing law and order in disaster-stricken areas.

“There should be an institutional approach, whether it’s me who is here or whoever is here as DILG secretary,” Roxas added.

There were 132 units from SAF deployed in Eastern Samar, 62 of whom were positioned in major supply routes while 70 assisted in relief operations. Offices of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the seaport in Allen and Borongan City airport were also put under the PNP's watch. The strategic deployment of these personnel helped in preventing bad elements from committing crimes against the typhoon victims.

"We could not have done this without the support of the local government units (LGUs)," said Gen. Constantino.

Roxas also suggested that Gen. Constantino can work with the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) and the Philippine Public Safety College (PPSC) in formulating the protocol for disaster preparedness and immediate response.

The protocol is set to include not only plans to deploy police personnel in typhoon areas but also the composition of critical managers and incident committees, and the technical and logistical needs of Search, Rescue and Retrieval (SRR) Teams.

The DILG is also studying the inclusion of satellite phones as part of the PNP's minimum preparation in times of disaster.

"This should be the protocol in hard-hit areas not only because I was there (in Eastern Samar) but because that ought to be the case,” Roxas remarked.

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