Robredo: Don't wait to evacuate

Posted at 08/07/12 10:26 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo said Tuesday the country is better prepared for floods, thanks to improvements in weather forecasting and disaster preparedness training.

Speaking to ANC, Robredo said government units prepare for heavy rains days in advance.

H said authorities are now monitoring Pangasinan, La Union, Benguet, Tarlac, and other areas where rains are expected to continue.

Robredo, however, urged citizens not to wait until the last minute to evacuate.

He added that barangay captains can initiate evacuation in their areas should they see fit.

"Dito naman sa barangay, meron kami tinatawag na redundancy protocol on evacuation. Imbes na aantayin si mayor, siya mismo designs, on their own they initiate the evacuation," he said.

Robredo said they were able to get permission from the Ombudsman to use several rubber boats that figured in a controversy in 2009.

The boats were purchased with incompatible outboard motor engines shortly after "Ondoy."

Robredo said government units were allowed to use the boats -- without their outboard motors --  for rescue operations, but assured that  the probe into the boats still stands.

"Commission on Audit, sinulatan natin. Ombudsman, humingi na rin kami ng pahintulot. Pumayag na rin po siya, kaya iyung naka-storage at sa labas ng Manila magagamit," he said. - ANC