Cops, soldiers dispatched to Tacloban, other Visayas towns to stop looting

6:01 pm | Sunday, November 10th, 2013

Tacloban City is reduced to vast wasteland after the onslaught of super typhoon “Yolanda.” Video by INQUIRER.net’s Ryan Leagogo



MANILA, Philippines — Authorities appealed for calm, on Sunday, amid reports of widespread looting in commercial establishments by desperate survivors looking for food and basic necessities in Tacloban City and other towns in Western and Eastern Visayas battered by “supertyphoon Yolanda” (international name Haiyan).


Besides looting, some typhoon victims also reportedly ransacked automated teller machines of commercial banks.


The Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) quickly moved in to address the situation, sending more than 500 personnel to restore law and order in areas heavily damaged by the catastrophe.


PNP Director General Alan Purisima joined other senior government officials who flew to Tacloban aboard a C130 military cargo plane from Villamor Airbase in Pasay City.


Senior Superintendent Reuben Theodore Sindac, PNP spokesperson, said at least 342 personnel of the elite Special Action Force (SAF) were deployed to Tacloban, one of the hardest hit areas in Leyte province.


“They will be part of the ‘peacekeeping force’ in those areas,” Sindac told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.


“These personnel will provide security and maintain peace and order as reported looting of goods has become rampant in commercial establishments,” he said.


He said 22 members of the PNP Health Service and Crime Laboratory were also sent in attending to the needs of injured victims and in identifying those who perished.


“The PNP is calling on the survivors to try to keep clam, be strong and be patient. Help is on the way,” Sindac said.



The military also called on the typhoon victims to “cooperate with government authorities” in bringing order and delivering relief goods to their communities.


Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala, AFP public affairs office chief, said the military sent 100 additional soldiers to assist the PNP and AFP personnel who were already in Tacloban and nearby towns.


“As we firmly establish command and control in affected areas, we appeal to the public to be patient. We understand your emotion and frustration due to the lack of information coming out,” Zagala said in a statement.


He said the military was closely coordinating with other government agencies to deliver much-needed services to affected residents.


“All we ask is patience from our fellow citizens,” he said.


He said a Fokker plane of the Air Force flew in technicians from Smart Communications, three United Nations officials, 22 foreign medical volunteers from California and an air traffic controller from the Air Traffic Organization to Tacloban on Sunday.


Zagala added that the military also sent communications systems personnel in the cities of Tacloban, Roxas and Mactan to help in the massive humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations.


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Tags: Armed Forces of the Philippines , Calamity , Crime , Cyclone , disaster , Haiyan , Law and Order , law enforcement , looting , News , Philippine National Police , Regions , Rehabilitation , relief , rescue , robbery , starvation , supertyphoon , Tacloban City , Typhoon , Visayas , Weather , Yolanda

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