LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines — The Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) in Bicol on Sunday activated Task Force Pablo, a disaster response group that would undertake search and rescue operation in areas in the region expected to be affected by flooding, landslides and storm surges during the expected landfall of typhoon Bopha, to be locally called “Pablo” in the Philippines.
TF Pablo is composed of over 200 trained personnel from various units of the Philippine Army, Navy and Air Force, Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Albay Public Safety and Emergency and Management Office (Apsemo), according to Bernardo Alejandro, Office of Civil Defense (OCD) regional director and RDRRMC chairman.
Along with its trained personnel TF Pablo would also be equipped with air, land and sea assets such as rubber boats, ambulances, trucks and other search rescue and retrieval equipment, Alejandro said.
Army Major General Romeo Calizo, commanding officer of the Army’s 9th Infantry Division, said the activation of TF Pablo would be a preparedness measure by the AFP and the civilian authority to address any of the probable disaster challenges.
Gov. Joey Salceda said that with TF Pablo in place, they hoped to attain Albay’s “zero casualty” goal during period of disasters.
Ed Laguerta, the government’s volcanologist based in this city, said Mt. Mayon’s lahar and its other volcanic debris no longer posed danger to residents living along the slopes of the volcano.
“Except for volcanic rocks there are no loose materials deposited in the higher slopes of Mayon,” Laguerta said.
He said that the volcanic debris spewed by Mt. Mayon during the 2006 and 2009 eruptions have cascaded down to the lower slopes of the volcano specifically in the villages of Tandarora, Maipon channels in Guinobatan town and to the Padang and Mabinit channels in this city.