Monday, December 9, 2013

Sorsogon Governor leads rescue of hundred stranded passengers in Donsol

Sorsogon Gov. Lee leads Disaster Rescue Team in Donsol town.
CASTILLA, SORSOGON, Dec 4 (PIA) – Over 130 passengers stranded along a flooded highway in Donsol, Sorsogon were jointly rescued by the members of the Army Disaster Response Team, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Philippine National Police (PNP) and Provincial Disaster Risk and Reduction Management Office (SPDRRMO) on Sunday, Dec 1.

The flooding was caused by continuous heavy rains over the past two days which climbed to as high as three meters.

Upon the directives of Sorsogon Governor Raul R. Lee Colonel Joselito E. Kakilala, Commander of 903rd Infantry Brigade, Philippine Army immediately deployed the Disaster Response Team of the Brigade and the 31st Infantry Battalion together with six members of the Cafgu Active Auxiliary (CAA) of the Alpha Company.

“Prior to this, the 22nd Infantry Battalion was immediately dispatched at 8:00o’clock in the morning, following the receipt of an information from the Sorsogon Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (SPDRRMO) about the flooding at P-5 Barangay Gura, Donsol, Sorsogon,” Col Kakilala also said. 

Aside from the directives given to the responders, the governor himself went to the area to personally see the situation, lead the response and rescue team, and do the first hand supervision of the rescue operations until dusk.

Residents of Donsol town including the teachers and students were caught by surprise upon seeing Governor Lee leading the members of the Disaster Response and Rescue Team.

“We thought the governor is a physically weak old man as we hear it from our barangay folks, but his presence and the way he led the rescue operations proved them wrong,” one of the rescued students remarked.

The team rescues stranded passengers.
Captain John C. Babia who led the 903rd Infantry Brigade and the 31st Infantry Battalion Rescue Teams said that the three-meter high rise of water which caused the flooding trapped the vehicles coming in and out of Donsol proper unable to cross the 500-meter stretch of the flooded highway and resulted to hundreds of stranded passengers.

He said the Army swam in pushing rubber boats during the transport of the passengers. The rubber boats used were dispatched by the SPDRRMO to ferry the stranded passengers across the flooded highway. 

Captain Babia also said that there was no reported casualty in the flooding incident. “The presence of the governor waiting until the water subsided making the bridge passable to vehicles and traversing persons was an additional inspiration to the rescuers,” he added.

It can be noted that Captain Babia’s team also assisted the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Pilar, Sorsogon on Saturday, Nov 30, in evacuating at least 120 families at Brgy Putiao, Pilar Sorsogon after the said barangay was also flooded.

Meanwhile, Col Kakilala credited the immediate and concurrent response of the rescuers not only on this Donsol incident but in any forms of disasters happening in Sorsogon to the close coordination and collaboration they have established and maintained with the SPDRRMO and other Disaster Response Teams in the province. 

He further said that 903rd Brigade has a fully organized and well equipped Disaster Response Team that is on alert round the clock to respond to any kind of eventuality. (BARecebido, PIA-5/Sorsogon with reports from BQCadungan, PA)

 Members of the 903rd Brigade Rescue Team brave the 3 meter high flood water to ensure that the rubber boat ferrying stranded passengers can safely cross the flooded highway at Brgy Gura, Donsol, Sorsogon.  
The 903rd Brigade Rescue Team prepares the nylon rope to be used as safety line along the flooded highway at Brgy Gura, Donsol, Sorsogon.

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