President Benigno Aquino III has ordered the Philippine National Police to stop the looting in areas devastated by Typhoon “Pablo,” even as Malacañang cheered the rescue of four survivors.
“The PNP has been instructed by the President through (Interior) Secretary Mar Roxas to prevent any more incidents of looting,” Abigail Valte, deputy presidential spokesperson, told government-run dzRB on Sunday.
After food provisions took long to arrive, desperate residents looted shops in search of food in Cateel, one of the towns in Davao Oriental.
Roxas said some policemen had been deployed to secure food warehouses and homes from looters. He said he had received “unverified information” that residents looted a warehouse of the National Food Authority in Compostela Valley.
With the search and rescue operations stabilizing, policemen could now focus on securing warehouses and abandoned homes from possible looting, he said.
“We want to ensure that the storages of food are secured so that the distribution of relief good will be orderly, and the homes and abandoned structures are safe from stealing,” he said in an interview by phone. He doubted that the looting could go out of hand.
Valte admitted that the looting may be an offshoot of the difficulty by government officials in bringing in relief supplies in some areas.
“We need to… speed up to open access to those areas, and to make sure that the looting incidents do not happen anymore,” she said. TJ Burgonio