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PIA Press Release

Secretary Teodoro monitors CAR's preparedness for typhoon "Ramil"

by Lito Dar

Baguio City (24 October) -- Making sure that the region is ready for the onslaught of typhoon Ramil, Defense Secretary and National Disaster Coordinating Council(NDCC) Chairman Gilbert Teodoro met with the Cordillera Regional Disaster Coordinating Council last October 21 to check on the preparedness of the region in various aspects.

In the said meeting, Teodoro's concerns centered on the preparedness of the CRDCC in terms of pre-positioning of relief supplies, pre-emptive evacuation plans, stocks of supplies, especially petroleum, and the readiness on clearing of roads to avoid a repeat of the temporary isolation of the region especially Baguio and Benguet, during the height of typhoon "Pepeng."

Teodoro also directed the implementation of an inter-regional approach in relief assistance and operations for proximity reasons. RDCC Region 1 is tasked to handle Abra, RDCC Region for Ifugao and Kalinga while the CRDCC handles Benguet, Mountain Province and Baguio City.

In addition, Teodoro also directed the Philippine Military Academy cadets to provide relief services to Baguio City and the other nearby municipalities of Benguet. He also assured that there are Chinook helicopters that are on standby, ready to be dispatche for Cordillera, if needed.

Meanwhile, CRDCC Chairman and Cordillera Police Regional Director,PCSupt. Orlando Pestaño assured that pre-positioning of relief goods are on-going and even in remaining isolated parts or municipalities of Benguet, with the assistance of the choppers of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) and the United Nations.

For relief supplies, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD-CAR) Operations Division chief Janet Armas assured that they have enough supply at the moment. According to Armas, they have about 6,000 family packs supply, in addition to blankets and mats.

Armas also confirmed that they have already sent augmentation supply to the provinces, aside from the relief supply given by the United Nation Food Program, given to the different provinces in the region.

Center for Health and Development (CHD-CAR) director Dr. Myrna Cabotaje also assured medicines supplies are already in place, as they have been pre-positioning medicines and replenishing stocks, in coordination with the Provincial/City Disaster Coordinating Councils (PDCCs/CDCCs).

CHD-CAR is also closely coordinating with Local Chief Executives and Local Health Workers in determining what kind of medicines are still needed or lacking aside from their usual rounds to evacuation centers to give chlorine tablets and to monitor the occurrence of illnesses or diseases, Cabotaje added.

Cabotaje also announced that there is also a recent directive from Health Secretary Duque to provide free "Prophylaxis" – a medicine for possible cases of "leptospirosis" – for rescuers and responders, as there are already alarming cases of such disease in many areas affected by typhoon "Ondoy" and "Pepeng." Cabotaje though assured that in Cordillera, there are only three cases of "leptospirosis" monitored and that they are still looking on the details of the cases.

Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH-CAR) Director Roy Manao affirmed that they have already a calamity team in place and that they have already stationed equipments in critical places. They have also tapped private contractors to help in clearing operations.

"The basic issue right now is for us to monitor 24/7 typhoon Ramil, Teodoro said during the meeting. TY Ramil was first forecasted to make landfall in Northern Luzon Thursday night or Friday morning.

Teodoro gave credits to the smooth and effective communications between the different government agencies in Cordillera during the height of typhoon "Pepeng." He also expressed optimism that the region's experiences during the last typhoons would be a big help in facing whatever situation typhoon "Ramil" would bring to the region.

Teodoro was accompanied by representatives of the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) Team. (PIA) [top]

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