MANILA, Philippines—With the onset of the rainy season, the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) is set to deploy more than 2,000 water search and rescue personnel.
On Wednesday, the Metro Manila police Regional Public Safety Battalion (RPSB) showcased at the NCRPO headquarters in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig, the skills of its newly trained Water Survival Search and Rescue (WASAR) team, numbering to around 2,371 personnel.
At the same activity, the RPSB also presented a sampling of their water-based rescue equipment, such as lifeboats, life vests and lifebuoys.
Members of the RPSB WASAR have been trained in water-based rescue—from handling boats and ropes to rendering first-aid—in preparation for flooding in the metropolis.
In a statement, NCRPO head director Leonardo Espina directed all police districts to deploy the WASAR in identified flood-prone areas.
“This is to ensure that we can provide immediate response to areas that do not have sufficient equipment. Disaster may bring great damage in a second. Help would come faster from the nearest police station or district, to those who most need it,” Espina said.
The NCRPO has gathered, from its police stations across 16 cities and one municipality, a list of the most flood-prone streets and barangays (villages) in their respective areas.
Citing the Department of Interior and Local Government’s (DILG) goal of “zero-casualty” this typhoon season, Espina urged cooperation among the public and private sector. “We solicit again the untiring support of our volunteer rescue groups and the support of the general public, as well,” Espina said.
Earlier, the DILG said that under the zero-casualty goal, it would begin starting Wednesday flood drills in “high-risk” barangays and informal settler communities along six major waterways in Metro Manila: the San Juan River, Pasig river, Maricaban Creek, Manggahan Floodway, Tullahan River and Estero Tripa de Galina.
In a statement, the DILG estimated that around 60,000 informal settler-families have been living along the six waterways, with 15,000 in immediate need of relocation.