By Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) Updated January 18, 2011 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines - Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) commandant Admiral Wilfred Tamayo yesterday said that they are starting preparations early following the announcement of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) that more than 20 storms are expected to hit the country this year.
Tamayo in a statement said that he has already issued directives to all PCG stations and districts around the country to implement “Oplan Kahandaan.”
Among the measures that they will be undertaking are increased personnel vigilance and high state of preparedness and ready deployment of search and rescue/disaster response assets in terms of vessels, aircraft, equipment and highly trained personnel.
The field offices are also instructed to promptly report any maritime incidents.
They will also be closely monitoring and immediately disseminating the latest weather and sea conditions based on Pagasa’s forecast.
Tamayo stated that they will also alert the shipping industry and fishermen whenever the weather bureau reports an impending storm or severe weather condition.
In addition, the PCG has requested the assistance of the PCG Auxiliary and ship/boat owners in PCG search and rescue/disaster-response-relief missions.
They will also coordinate with the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC), the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), the concerned local government units (LGUs), and members of media in the conduct of disaster-response-relief operations.
He also promised that they will be planting more mangrove saplings, particularly along the coastal areas, which are vulnerable to landslides or flashfloods, with the active participation of the PCG Auxiliary, LGUs and other government agencies, NGOs and other stakeholders.