MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has deployed and is preparing to send more personnel and assets to help communities in the Cagayan Valley region that have been severely affected by the series of typhoons, including "Ulysses", which has caused heavy flooding.

We hear you! AFP preparing to deploy more soldiers for Isabela, Cagayan rescue ops

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MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has deployed and is preparing to send more personnel and assets to help communities in the Cagayan Valley region that have been severely affected by the series of typhoons, including “Ulysses”, which has caused heavy flooding.

“The AFP hears the calls for help. We have sent and will continue to send personnel and assets to the areas in Region 2 (Cagayan Valley) affected by the heavy flooding brought by recent typhoons,” AFP Chief of Staff, Gen. Gilbert Gapay, said in a statement Saturday.

The entire Joint Task Force Tala, composed of the 5th Infantry Division, Naval Forces Northern Luzon, Marine Battalion Landing Team (MBLT) 10, and Tactical Operations Group 2, has been on the search, rescue, and retrieval mode.

“All resources of these units are being used to rescue and provide relief to stricken individuals and communities in CAR (Cordillera Administrative Region) and Region 2,” he added.

Gapay said two water search-and-rescue (WASAR) teams from Tactical Operations Group 2 are on the third day of their mission in Ilagan City, Isabela, while three search, rescue and retrieval (SRR) teams of the Marine Battalion Landing Team (MBLT) 1, equipped with rubber boats and trucks are in Alcala, Cagayan.

“More than 91 SRR units of the Northern Luzon Command are spread out in 12 provinces and 31 municipalities,” Gapay said.

Meanwhile, five helicopters and three more WASAR teams are just waiting for fair weather to fly in and help, he added.

“We continue to cooperate with the Bureau of Fire Protection, Philippine National Police, Philippine Coast Guard, and other members of the SRR Cluster in order to help as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. We have faced many challenges. Our resilience and ‘Bayanihan’ have kept us forward. We call on everyone to hold on to safety. Help is on the way. And help will come,” Gapay said.

As this developed, the Philippine Navy (PN) said a disaster response and rescue team (DRRT) is now headed for Alcala, Cagayan to help in ongoing rescue efforts in the floods caused by the spilling of water from Magat Dam brought by the onslaught of “Ulysses”.

The PN DDRT is composed of 14 personnel led by Marine Lt. Col. Carlo Bubuli and is based at the Naval Forces Northern Luzon’s Naval Base Camilo Osias in Sta. Ana, Cagayan.

The team is equipped with a rubber boat with an outboard motor and other DRRT equipment.
Three of the DDRT members are corpsmen from MBLT-10 and a PN reservist trained in emergency response operations. (PNA)

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POLITIKO / Latest News

Risa seeks inquiry on PNP, PDEA’s ‘dramatic, traumatic misencounter’

Senator Risa Hontiveros is set to file a resolution seeking a Senate investigation, in aid of legislation, on Wednesday’s “misencounter” between the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.

“We need to look into this further. It is very alarming that this is not the first time that such a ‘misencounter’ has happened,” the senator said.

“The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) did admit that this has happened numerous times. These ‘misencounters’ should be rare, not common,” Hontiveros said.

The shooting incident occurred along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City, killing two policemen.

According to the Quezon City Police District Station 6, the QCPD’s District Special Operations Unit conducted a buy-bust operation near Ever Gotesco Mall. However, the DSOU officers were not aware that they were transacting with PDEA’s Special Enforcement Service (SES) agents.

“How could this have happened, at all, in the first place?” Hontiveros said.

“Why did the shootout take place for as long as an hour? Hindi ba pwedeng magkalinawan, even within the first few minutes, that a misencounter breaks out?” the senator added.

“There was a dramatic lack of coordination between the PNP and PDEA. Someone somewhere must have been grossly negligent. Ang laki ng intelligence funds nila pareho pero ganyan ang nangyari,” Hontiveros said.

She noted that in 2021, the PNP was given an intelligence fund of P856 million while PDEA was given P500 million.

Hontiveros said she hopes that the Board of Inquiry formed by the PNP will get to the bottom of what happened.

Lapid wants to punish sons, daughters who abandon elderly, sickly parents

Senator Lito Lapid has filed a bill that proposes to criminalize the act of “deprivation of support” to incapacitated parents.

Senate Bill 2061 “reinforces the duty of children to take care of their elderly, sickly or otherwise, incapacitated parents.”

The bill states that children shall, within their means and capacity, maintain support for their father or mother, who by virtue of being over sixty (60) years of age or suffering from a disease or disablity, are rendered incapable of supporting themselves.”

The bill also cites Article 195 of the Family Code which says parents and their children are obliged to give support to each other.

“This means that the obligation to support cuts both ways— parents must support their children, especially during the years of their minority and dependency; on the other hand, children who are already capable must take care of their elderly, disease or disability-stricken parents who are in need,” Lapid said.

Unfortunately, abuse against an elderly, disabled, or otherwise incapacitated parent, which includes physical, sexual, psychological, emotional and financial abuse, abandonment, neglect and serious loss of dignity and respect, has become an “invisible issue” in the Philippines, according to Commission on Human Rights.

“Nakakalungkot isipin na ang mga magulang na nagpakapagod noong panahong malakas pa sila para masuportahan ang kanilang mga anak, ay kaya na lamang tiisin at abandunahin sa panahong matanda na sila,” Lapid said.

Any person, who despite having the capacity, but neglects to maintain support to his or her parent shall be liable for deprivation of support to parent and shall be punishable by imprisonment of arresto menor as the minimum and arresto mayor as the maximum.

There are also respective fines of not less than P200,000 but not more than P500,000, at the discretion of the court.

Recto gives DepEd ‘homework’: Set up face-to-face class trials in Covid-free areas

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto on Thursday gave an “assignment” for the Department of Education: Set up laboratory schools that will test the safety of limited face-to-face classes.

“That is the science lesson DepEd should study,” he said, adding that “debates on whether to open classes should now move from theory to trials.”

He called on the education department to work with the Department of Health, local government chiefs, Local School Boards, and “the country’s best scientific minds” to design several “classroom settings safe for our children and teachers.”

“For example, begin with 10 students in a room that is well ventilated. Tapos, mask lahat. Constant handwashing. Temperature check. And instead of whole day in school, cut it to half, and limit to 2-3 times a week. Teachers with medical clearance. Kumpleto ang safeguards. Will this work?” Recto said.

He said these “closely monitored trial classes” can be held in Covid-free areas, possibly in remote barangays or self-contained communities which have not recorded a single case of Covid-19 in months.

“One third ng mga towns, walang Covid case. Yung mga schools sa maliliit na isla na hindi labas-pasok ang mga tao, hindi ba pwede simulan doon? Ito yung tinatawag nila na granular and customized approach. Because a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work,” Recto said.

He said that to give participants “peace of mind”, government should guarantee the full cost of hospitalization, “under an insurance package worth millions.”

Recto said only volunteers should participate, “walang pilitan, because what we want is a community project and not something that is imposed by the government.”

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