We will weather the storm

September 16, 2018

I join the entire country in praying that indeed, we will weather the onslaught of typhoon ‘Ompong’ and prevent serious casualties due to the massive government preparation spearheaded no less by President Duterte himself last Thursday.

While writing this piece, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said that no casualties have been reported yet due to the heavy winds and rains which battered many parts of Luzon early in the morning.

Let’s hope and pray that indeed, ‘Ompong’ will not bring serious casualties elsewhere in the country which I think has experienced over the past several days how serious the government is when it comes to preparing for calamities.

Actually, I think that it was the 1st time in so many years that a sitting president motored to the NDRRMC in Camp Aguinaldo to meet his Cabinet and see to it that all preparations are in place to ensure that there will be quick government response to the typhoon.

It was also the 1st time that the President directly ordered his Cabinet officials to take charge in areas affected bty the typhoon’s track and see to it that all rescue personnel and equipment are prepositioned there.

I wish that this would be the template when it comes to preparing for typhoon and other calamities that may unexpectedly hit the country. You see, presence of a top official in an area being ravaged by a typhoon is enough to prod all concerned to work to the hilt. What if that official is the President himself?

As presidential spokesman Harry Roque had explained, our Cabinet officials are “going around and ensuring that we are at our best as far as disaster preparedness is concerned.” Congratulations the our government.

Kudos goes to the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces and other law enforcement agencies, local government units and different government offices which saw to it that there will be a ‘whole of government approach’ in responding to ‘Ompong’s’ wrath.

It was PNP chief, General Oscar Albayalde who called on all all Filipinos to pray ‘so that we will weather the storm” while assuring that all police search-and-rescue personnel and equipment have been prepositioned in areas that will be hit by the typhoon.

I would like to congratulate the PNP chief for directing beforehand the availability of resources and personnel for possible disaster response operations in areas threatened by the destructive effects of ‘Ompong.’

Policemen and soldiers really play a major role in forcibly evacuating residents in landslide and flood-prone areas apart from rescuing people that may be stranded in the streets or caught by floodwaters inside their homes.

So in case you see policemen and soldiers going all out to help rescue our fellows, let’s pray for them. Let’s pray that they will be safe while doing their duty without any favor. Let’s also pray that their families will also be safe from harm.

As PNP Chief Directorial Staff, incoming Deputy Director General Pikoy Cascolan had said, Gen. Albayalde’s directive is ‘for everybody to secure their families first before deployment.’  Cascolan told me that all personnel in unaffected regions have been placed on standby alert ready for deployment in affected areas along with their equipment.

Indeed, there is a big need for the police to really ensure that their families are safe too before leaving their homes. This is a must since there are times that the families of some of our policemen also become victims of calamities too, thus the need for them to be ready with their bags containing bottled water, spare clothes, flashlight and fresh batteries, medicines and other basic necessities.


Last Monday, I was listening when Gen. Albayalde again said that the killing of a so-called ‘Ninja Cop’ in a gunbattle with undercover officers in Koronadal City in South Cotabato on Saturday last week should serve as another  warning to other misfits and scalawags in uniform to mend their ways or end up six feet underground should they refuse to fight it out with their colleagues.

The PNP chief referred to the case of Police Officer 1 Rommil Barcellano of the Provincial Intelligence Branch of the South Cotabato Police Provincial Office who was gunned down in a firefight with undercover officers of the PNP Counter-Intelligence Task Force headed by Senior Superintendent Bong Caramat of Philippine Military Academy Class 1992.

“This incident should serve as a lesson and game changer for others like him who refuse to toe the line and continue to betray the public trust with their criminal ways. There will be no let-up and no sacred cows in this campaign,” Gen. Albayalde said.

The PNP chief said that the Koronadal City operation is a proof that the PNP internal cleansing program continues to gain ground in ridding the organization of criminal elements and undesirables. Before he was killed, the PNP-CITF validated reports that Marcellano is the leader of an organized crime group engaged in recycling and selling of seized drugs as well as robbery-holdup and gun-for-hire activities in Central Mindanao.

Caramat said that the entrapment operation was conducted by a PNP-CITF team led by Supt. Joel Estaris with the support of the PNP Intelligence Group headed by Chief Supt. Edmund A. Gonzales, the 4th Special Action Battalion of the PNP Special Action Force and the Police Regional Office 12 headed by Chief Supt. Eliseo Rasco.

PO1 Barcellano became the latest rogue in uniform to be shot dead in an anti-crime operation by the PNP-CITF. The others were Police Officer 3 Ronald Bernardo and Police Officer 2 Maria Oliver Olaso, both assigned with the Zamboanga City Police Office’s Station 3 and PO2 Ian Rey Abitona of the Infanta Municipal Police Station in Quezon. Since Gen. Albayalde became our top cop, eight rogues in police uniform have been killed in gunfights with their colleagues. The PNP-CITF has also jailed 17 active policemen found involved in criminal activities including extortion, ‘huilidap’ and ‘bangketa’ activities.