The Philippine National Police is seeking permission from the Office of the Ombudsman to deploy its controversial fleet of 75 inflatable rescue boats to provinces likely to be hit by Typhoon “Pablo.”
“We understand the importance of having rubber boats in situations like this. That’s why we will be complying with certain procedures of the Ombudsman for us to be able to use the rubber boats,” PNP Director General Nicanor Bartolome told the Philippine Daily Inquirer Monday.
Before his death in a plane crash in August, Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo ordered an investigation of alleged irregularities in the purchase of 75 rescue boats and 93 outboard motors in 2008 for P131.5 million through a negotiated contract.
The boats were supposed to be used by the PNP Maritime Group for patrol and disaster response operations, but they were never deployed as the PNP’s technical working group found that they were “risky to end-users.”
Bartolome said he had also ordered senior police officials in the Visayas and Mindanao to ensure that all police personnel, especially members of rescue units, would be available for disaster response operations.
He said the entire police force in the Visayas and Mindanao had been on standby alert since Saturday.
“We also reminded our policemen to take an active role in mapping out precautionary measures in areas that could be affected by the typhoon,” he added. With Jamie Elona, INQUIRER.net
Originally posted: 2:05 pm | Monday, December 3rd, 2012