Armed groups urged to give way for relief operations in Samar

Marje Pelayo   •   January 3, 2019   •   3701



Department of Social Welfare and Development’s relief operations in Lope de Vega, Northern Samar

SAMAR, Philippines — The Office of the Civil Defense Region 8 calls on armed groups in typhoon-hit areas in Samar to give way for humanitarian activities and for relief goods to reach the affected residents.

According to the data from the OCD-8, a total of 16 municipalities in Northern Samar; four in Samar and four in Eastern Samar were hugely affected.

“Isa iyon sa challenges natin. May mga instances noong una nga noong nag-distribute tayo. Sa ating mga kaibigan na andun sa Lope de Vega nakikiusap po kami na sana tulungan nyo po para sa relief operation ng DSWD makapasok po sila para sa ating mga kababayan po doon,” appealed information officer, Rayden Cabrigas of OCD-Region 8.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) already delivered 4,800 food packs to two hard-hit areas.

Meanwhile, the agency decided not to disclose the next date of delivery and the target destination in consideration for the safety of the relief workers.

Meanwhile, Major General Raul Farnacio of the 8th Infantry Division, Philippine Army command encourages the members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Samar to go down and coordinate with the military in case they wanted to help in the humanitarian efforts in the affected areas.

“Hopefully may humanitarian consideration pa itong mga armadong NPA kasi nga naman more on disaster response tayo wag naman sanang maging abala itong grupo nato at maraming nasalanta tayong mga kababayan sa northern samar if ever kung gusto nilang bumaba at tumulong gusto nilang tumulong sa masa ay sumama silang magdistribute ng relief goods,” Farnacio said.

The military has mobilized two battalions for the government’s humanitarian efforts while another is placed on standby to serve as augmentation force when necessary. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Archyl Egano)

Province-wide manhunt launched vs. NPA responsible for Samar cops ambush

Marje Pelayo   •   December 11, 2020

 MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief General Debold Sinas on Friday (December 11) has ordered a province-wide manhunt operation against suspected New People’s Army (NPA) combatants responsible for the ambush of a police team in Marabut, Samar.

According to Eastern Visayas PNP Regional Director Ronaldo De Jesus, the policemen were escorting a detainee back to the police station from a court hearing on Friday afternoon when they were ambushed in Brgy. Logero.

The attack killed one of the policemen and wounded the detainee.

Sinas condemned the attack and instructed De Jesus  to mount a “hot pursuit of the murderous group responsible for this affront to peace.”

Tactical and maneuver forces in Eastern Visayas have been mobilized to hunt for the suspects and Sinas vowed “justice for the victims of this atrocity.”

De Jesus identified the fatality as Police Corporal Earl Hembra.

He was accompanied by Patrolman Joseph Ricky Gadores Gacgacao and PCpl. Jerome Distrajo, his fellow members of the Marabut Municipal Police Station, when the attack happened. 

They were escorting a detainee, Nestor Lumagbas Jr. who was wounded in the incident.

“The PNP joins the Filipino civil society in strongest condemnation of this latest manifestation of disregard for human life by the communist New People’s Army with its continued use of internationally-outlawed landmines to further propagate the communist cause to topple government and seize power thru terror and violence,” the PNP Chief noted. MNP / Raymund David

OCD denies supplying disinfectant solution that caused police doctor’s death

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 9, 2020

The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) has denied that the disinfectant solution supplied to the quarantine facilities of the Philippine National Police (PNP) which caused the death of a police doctor came from them.

National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Spokesperson Mark Timbal said the OCD only supplied the PNP with food, janitorial services, Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), and other medical equipment.

“Iyong ginamit nilang pang spray hindi po sa amin iyon. Kaya po ang gagawin namin ay makikipagtulungan kami sa PNP to determine itong bagay na ito to an investigation (The spray they used did not come from us. So we will coordinate with the PNP to determine this through an investigation),” he said.

Timbal also said they are prepared to face investigation, if necessary, to determine who needs to be held accountable for the death of Dr. Casey Gutierrez who lost his life after inhaling the disinfectant used at the Philippine Sports Arena Quarantine Facility.

“We welcome the investigation para po malinawan iyong nangyari dyan sa facility na iyan at sa kasamahan nating doctor (to shed light on what happened in the facility and to our fellow doctor),” he said.

On May 24, Gutierrez was said to have had difficulty in breathing after he reportedly inhaled the chemical from the disinfectant spray used during the decontamination procedure. He died on May 30.

Meanwhile, four other police officers were also admitted to the hospital after inhaling the said chemical. –AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

Duterte fires OCD Deputy Administrator Kristoffer James Purisima

Marje Pelayo   •   May 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has dismissed Kristoffer James Purisima as deputy administrator assistant secretary of the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD). 

According to Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque, the President decided to remove Purisima from office due to “loss of trust and confidence.”

Roque could not tell, however, under what circumstance prompted the President to fire Purisima. 

Wala na po akong ibang impormasyon (I don’t have additional information) other than he was terminated due to loss of trust and confidence,” Roque confirmed. 

The OCD is the government’s main unit responsible for disaster preparedness and response in times of calamity.

Prior to his position in OCD, Purisima served as spokesperson of Task Force Bangon Marawi. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)


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