MANILA, Philippines – Amid reports of widespread looting in areas hardest hit by Super Typhoon Yolanda (international codename Haiyan), the Philippine National Police (PNP) promises it will restore law and order immediately.
“We assure you that by the end of the day, we will be in full control (of the looting),” PNP Chief Alan Purisima said in a press conference on Monday, November 11. “We will flood Tacloban City with policemen.”
Purisima said the PNP has deployed at least 883 personnel to affected areas, including more than 400 to Tacloban City, Leyte alone.
Tacloban had a local police force of about 352 before Yolanda struck. The province of Leyte listed 1,151 and Southern Leyte, 495, in their provincial police offices.
According to the 2010 census, Tacloban has a population of over 220,000. The entire province of Leyte, of which Tacloban is a part, has a population of at least 1.6 million, while Southern Leyte has a population of about 400,000. (READ: Fast Facts: Eastern Visayas)
After Yolanda, PNP spokesman Reuben Theodore Sindac said they “still cannot properly account for many of our PNP personnel” in these areas.
President Benigno Aquino III, however, said during an ambush interview on Sunday, November 10, “The police are reporting about 10% of their established plantilla actually stuck to their posts.”
Reports from Tacloban paint a picture of desperation and chaos, as survivors scramble to get basic needs. Without access to badly needed food and water, some already resorted to looting ATM machines and stores, following a complete shutdown of the city’s operations.
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