LIGAO CITY, Philippines – Clad in type B uniform and with his electric guitar, Chief Superintendent Antonio Gardiola Jr, the top cop in Bicol, serenaded Mayon evacuees housed temporarily at Ligao Central Elementary School in this city over the weekend.
Joined by a band and dance troupe from the Philippine National Police (PNP), Gardiola has been roaming around various evacuation camps for more than a week now to provide entertainment to evacuees through psycho-social care.
They performed the "Budots Pa More" program – referring to a dance craze on TV – aimed at helping evacuees to cope with boredom and ease their worries.
"Moving them away from their comfort zone to congested evacuation camps for temporary shelters is not easy. So we are doing this program to at least make them happy, particularly the children," said Gardiola.
Nelia Buema, 74, said she's happy and amazed by the performances of the PNP personnel.
"I thought they're just policemen. I'm surprised because they sing well and dance gracefully," Buema said.
Aside from their prepared song and dance numbers, policemen handed over relief goods to the evacuees of Sitio Buga, Nabunton village, including candies and face masks for the children.
Gardiola said the psychosocial intervention would be done as long as there are evacuees and the volcano is on Alert Level 4.
Gardiola added that some of their men were patrolling in "no man's land" – or the classified danger zones around Mayon volcano – to prevent residents from venturing back to these areas, as well as watch over the houses there against possible thieves.
Aside from psychosocial care, PNP-Bicol has deployed 292 personnel to evacuation centers. Some 900 trainees of the Regional Training Center are also ready for deployment at any time. – Rappler.com