QCPD readies emergency response teams as rainy days begin

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Photo by Karen Boncocan

MANILA, Philippines—Threats of widespread flooding in Quezon City have prompted station commanders from the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) to pool together search and rescue equipment to help their personnel respond to calamities.

Heavy rains have started to pummel parts of the metropolis this month and this has not gone unnoticed, Superintendent Neri Ilagan, QCPD deputy director for operations, told reporters on Wednesday.

He said that they have on standby 209 trained search and rescue personnel ready to augment those from the local government units (LGUs) once disaster struck.

Quezon City has 142 villages, 37 of which experienced flooding just last year, according to data culled by the QCPD. From the said villages, police said that more than 8,000 residents had to be evacuated when heavy rains hit the metropolis.

Ilagan said pooling together what equipment each station could provide were their personnel’s initiative, an effort to augment the existing SAR capabilities of the LGUs they serve.

Informal settlers who have built their makeshift homes along waterways continued to worry policemen as they were usually the first to fall victim to floods, said Ilagan.

He said that in areas like Payatas, Talayan and Tatalon which could need immediate evacuation were constantly being monitored.

These are villages near waterways, areas susceptible to heavy floods once rivers overflow, said the police official.

“Once the alert level for evacuation goes up, we are prepared to respond. We continuously monitor areas surrounding waterways,” he said.

Although the equipment they have gathered so far only consisted of boats, helmets, ropes, first aid kits and flashlights, Ilagan said that it was enough, at least, for their officers to conduct SAR operations this rainy season.

“Our officers can’t afford to wait for rescue teams if a resident in their area is drowning. They would be wasting time. They have to act fast,” said Ilagan.

He said they would immediately deploy 6×6 army trucks to help stranded residents get back to their homes or find evacuation centers.

The QCPD has submitted a wish list for search and rescue equipment to the city government, in the hopes they would be provided with funding for modernizing their emergency tools, added the police official.

“We do have lift capabilities, boats, and trucks for evacuating residents affected by floods. These equipment are enough, for now,” said Ilagan.

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