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Stay put lang kayo! Erap orders rescue units to remain on full alert

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Not taking any chances, Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada has directed the Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO) to stay in full alert status as the state weather bureau reported the continuous onslaught of monsoon rains in Luzon, including Metro Manila.

Estrada has placed the city’s rescue and relief units on red alert since last week to be able to quickly respond to all forms of emergencies such as flash floods. Today, classes in all levels in Manila remain suspended.

“We should not let our guard down,” Estrada said after receiving the latest update from Pagasa this morning that rains would continue in the next several days.
“Anything may happen and I wanted everyone to be on their toes to guarantee the safety of our constituents,” he added.

Except for an incident last Saturday when a concrete wall in Sta. Cruz collapsed amid heavy rains and killed two residents and a tornado that ripped off several houses in Intramuros and Port Area and injured a resident yesterday, Estrada said no weather-related incidents have taken place so far.

He said the city government will extend all necessary assistance to the affected families.

MDRRMO chief Johnny Yu said 25 rescuers are on 24-hour standby along with about 150 accredited volunteers. The Manila Community Emergency Response Teams (MCERTs) in each of the city’s 896 barangays are also on full alert.

The Manila Police District (MPD) also alerted its own 350-man search-and-rescue (SAR) unit to reinforce MDRRMO.
“Continuous pa rin ang monitoring natin,” Yu assured. “We haven’t monitored any flooded area so far but rest assured we are ready for any eventualities.”

MDRRMO operates an integrated command and control center at the city hall that monitors the city 24/7 through numerous security cameras and state-of-the-art communication systems.

Traffic in major thoroughfares in Manila is also light this morning owing to the suspension of classes and the absence of flooding in the streets, according to Dennis Alcoreza, head of the Manila Traffic and Parking Bureau (MTPB).

Disaster readiness and resiliency are one of Estrada’s priority programs. He has poured in over P600 million funds for continuous disaster risk reduction and response capability-building at the grassroots level.