All typhoon casualty reports fully checked: PNP

The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Thursday clarified that all reported incidents relating to casualties from the onslaught of Typhoon Odette are properly documented and investigated by various police units and are still subject to validation.

“The reported casualties are submitted to Office of Civil Defense and these are subject to validation by OCD (Office of Civil Defense), DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government) and DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development,” PNP chief General Dionardo Carlos said.

He also added that PNP units handling these data exercise due diligence to preclude possibilities of redundant or omitted entry that may compromise the accuracy of information.

“Ultimately, it’s the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) that takes the role as the overall in-charge of pre-disaster and post-disaster response in our country. All reported incidents to the police units are further evaluated by the NDRRMC,” Carlos said.

Carlos also said the PNP is asking for understanding if fatality figures between the organization and other government agencies may not match since there is a protocol for the validation undertaken by the NDRRMC.

“Search, rescue, and retrieval operations are still underway in some areas, so it’s premature to conclude the numbers, not to mention the limitation in the communication system due to interrupted signal connection that may delay the reporting scheme,” Carlos said.

In its latest situation report on Thursday, the NDRRMC said the casualties from the typhoon include 258 dead, 568 injured, and 47 missing.

Out of this figure, only 11 deaths and two injured have so far been validated.

Still undergoing validation are reports of another 247 dead, 566 injured and 47 missing.

Going after hoarders

Meanwhile, Carlos said the PNP is duly guided by the executive orders released by the local government units on the apprehension of establishments that shall be caught profiteering and hoarding of products to typhoon-affected areas.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has made it clear that overpricing and hoarding of products, underscoring on the basic commodities, are punishable acts under the Consumer Act or Republic Act 7394, as they take advantage of consumers in a time of distress.

“Some LGUs in Visayas and Mindanao already directed the different government agencies to assist in the monitoring and apprehension of these establishments or businesses that are violating the Consumer Act provisions. PNP’s assistance has been sought to make sure that no one will be above the law,” Carlos said.

This is as the PNP observed long queues in grocery stores, water refilling stations, gasoline stations, and automated teller machines (ATMs).

“We remind the public to exercise discipline so as to avoid incidents of altercation and commotion,” Carlos stressed. Some LGUs, like in Cebu City, have also directed the PNP to issue citation tickets to motorists who are occupying the streets, beyond the vicinity of the gasoline stations, from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. while waiting for their turn to gas up.

“There is already an order from the local government, so we will abide. We ask for understanding from the general public that we have to strictly implement this mandate to veer away from heavy traffic congestion especially in the main thoroughfares,” Carlos said.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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