A 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck the province of Abra on July 27, 2022, triggered landslides, damaged roads, and caused some structures such as houses—including centuries-old churches and buildings—to collapse. Many families were displaced, while others stayed in makeshift tents in open spaces out of fear of the earthquake’s aftershocks.
With the need for efficient and rapid assistance, the Philippine National Police headquarters immediately held a send-off ceremony for PNP contingents from the Special Action Force (SAF), Police Community Affairs and Development Group (PCADG), Headquarters Support Service (HSS), and Health Service (HS) to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations in Abra on July 28. The PNP contingents also brought assorted food packs along with the Search and Rescue equipment. Each food pack contained rice, canned goods, bottled water, noodles, and assorted biscuits for distribution to the earthquake victims. They also brought non-food items such as 3000 brand new pairs of shoes, seven units of 5,000 liters bladder tank kit, and five units of 1,500 liters bladder tank kit.
Among those deployed were the SAF water cops. The SAF water cops will operate the water desalination machines to provide clean water for the earthquake victims. Previously, residents of Monggoc and Pamutic villages in Pidigan, Abra appealed for clean water after some pipelines were damaged, making the water murky.
PNP officer-in-charge, PLtGen. Vicente Danao Jr. reminded troops to take extra precautions as aftershocks from the earthquake are expected. He also cautioned them against communist rebels who might take advantage of the situation to stage attacks. “Our problem in Abra is not just about natural disasters. It is also a known area of communist rebels; you should take extra precautions. I don’t want another scenario where these fools (Communist Terrorist Groups) will attack our people who are distributing aid. Our people going to the area are unarmed. This is not a time for conflict. This is a time to help one another.” PLTGen Danao said during the send-off ceremony.
After the arrival of the PNP contingents in Abra on July 29, 2022, the SAF water cops immediately operated in Brgy. Poblacion West, Pidigan, Abra and provided potable drinking water to the residents. Kuya Arman, one of the residents, thanked the PNP for bringing the water desalination machines to their place from Metro Manila because it has been of great help to them because they have no water supply as there was no electricity in their area. The water supply system in Abra is heavily dependent on electricity. Since the earthquake jolted, it caused power outages in several places in Abra, including their barangay.
On the same day, the composite teams of the PNP contingents from Camp Crame, Abra Police Provincial Office personnel, Bureau of Fire Protection, and Philippine Airforce conducted relief operations and distribution to San Juan, Abra residents. The residents thanked all those who helped them – from the benefactors of the goods to the members of the security forces that brought the goods to them.
Meanwhile, PNP personnel in Abra are continuously conducting search and rescue/retrieval operations while unceasingly pursuing anti-criminality efforts despite reeling from the effects of the calamity.