MANILA, Philippines—Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo urged persons stranded in flood-hit areas not to make it difficult for rescuers to evacuate them to higher grounds.
Asked in a television interview about rescue teams’ problems with individuals who refuse help despite being stuck on the roofs of their homes due to massive floods, Robredo said rescuers were already risking their safety to seek out those stranded.
“Sa ganitong klaseng sitwasyon, sana lawakan ng mamamayan ang isip nila (dahil) isinusugal ng (rescuers) ang buhay nila (Situations like these, I hope our citizens could broaden their mind because these rescuers are putting their own lives at risk here),” he said.
“Pakiusap ko sa mamamayan sumunod (sila sa otoridad), pangalawa kung hindi naman kailangan maglaro sa baha ay huwag na at makipag-ugnayan sila sa local (I ask the public to follow the authorities. Second, if it’s not necessary to wade in floodwaters, don’t. Just coordinate with our local authorities).”
He admitted that teams conducting search and rescue operations faced difficulties in reaching those in need of help, saying that the 75 anomalous rubber boats which President Benigno Aquino III authorized for use in rescue activities “will never be enough—the degree of requirement—and question na lang sino ang pinaka-urgent.”
He advised residents in flood-prone areas to cooperate with rescue teams, saying that it was difficult for rescuers to reach certain areas only for their efforts to be turned down.
There was late relocation for Luzon, he said, citing residents who insisted on waiting it out to see whether their homes would instead be reached by floodwater.
Following incidents of emergencies in the University of Sto. Tomas Hospital and the UERM, which called for relief assistance amidst rising floods, Robredo also urged hospitals to prepare for disasters.
“Pakiusap namin, kung maaari lang na naghahanda rin sila. Ang ospital, mainam maghanda rin ng pagkain (Our request is if possible they should also be prepared. In hospitals, it’s better if they prepare food).”