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NDRRMC to remain on blue alert for Undas

Alexis Romero (Philstar.com) - October 29, 2015 - 4:41am

MANILA, Philippines — The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) will remain on blue alert as it prepares for the exodus of people to the provinces for the commemoration of All Saints Day.

NDRRMC Executive Director Alexander Pama said the council would maintain the alert status declared before the onslaught of typhoon “Lando,” which battered northern and central Luzon two weeks ago.

“We are still on blue alert as a residual activitiy for ‘Lando’ and we will discuss if there is a need to raise a red alert,” Pama said in a press briefing on Thursday in Camp Aguinaldo.

The NDRRMC Operations Center was placed on blue alert on October 15. The alert status placed half of disaster management personnel on standby to ensure enough manpower in case of emergency.

Pama said a red alert would be declared if there are disasters or mishaps that involve a huge number of people. He, however, noted that traditionally, a red alert is declared before All Saints’ Day.  A red alert involves the cancelation of all leaves and requires all disaster management personnel to report for duty.

Armed Forces Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations Brig. Gen. Carlito Galvez said they have not monitored specific threats that could disrupt the commemoration of the All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. Military forces, however, are bracing for possible untoward incidents to be staged by threat groups.

“We cannot lower our guard especially on occassions like holidays. The general public is vulnerable,” Galvez said.

In a presentation before members of the NDRRMC, Galvez said the military has intensified intelligence operations as armed groups may take advantage of the holiday and stage bombings, kidnappings and attacks.

“The Joint Task Force NCR (National Capital Region) has been tasked to coordinate with the PNP (Philippine National Police) and to ensure public safety,” he said.

The PNP will provide about 2,000 personnel to secure cemeteries and other public places while the military will deploy around 600 soldiers.

The armed forces is ready to provide three civil disturbance management units, six K9 units, and six explosives ordnance disposal units to the PNP when requested.

The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) lifted the number coding scheme starting Friday until 10 p.m. of November 2. The agency will deploy 2,523 personnel around the metropolis and has implemented a “no day-off, no absent policy.”

MMDA personnel will be sent to bus stations in Araneta-Cubao, EDSA-Cubao, Pasay-Taft, EDSA-Balintawak, Sampaloc, Dangwa and Southwest Integrated Provincial Terminal.

The Philippine Red Cross will help government agencies ensure the convenience of travelers and cemetery visitors.

Red Cross Secretary-General Gwendolyn Pang said her group would have a presence in 277 cemeteries nationwide. She said the organization would also set up 310 first aid stations, and deploy 12 ambulances.

NDRRMC Chairman and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin instructed NDRRMC member agencies to make an inventory of ambulances to avoid overlaps and to ensure that all key areas are covered. He also reminded disaster management personnel to ensure the convenience and safety of the public.

“I think we can readily say that we are ready. Now, we must continue to monitor our respective areas of concern so that our courses of actions are (responsive to) the situation that we will be facing,” Gazmin said.

ACIRC ALERT ALL SAINTS ALL SAINTS DAY ARMED FORCES DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF CAMP AGUINALDO CARLITO GALVEZ CHAIRMAN AND DEFENSE SECRETARY VOLTAIRE GAZMIN DANGWA AND SOUTHWEST INTEGRATED PROVINCIAL TERMINAL DAY AND ALL SOULS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR ALEXANDER PAMA
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