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MANILA, Philippines – As virtually all of Metro Manila was plunged into an emergency by nonstop, monsoon-induced rains on Tuesday, it was time for MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino to call in a favor from volunteers, especially those trained by the agency to synchronize their efforts and join the rescue operations.
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority earlier placed the metropolis on "red alert" status, but was swamped with requests from hundreds of thousands of people needing rescue or, if relocated to safety, for humanitarian assistance.
Tolentino said they deployed rescue teams to Marikina City, Fairview in Quezon City, Biak na Bato, Valuenzuela, Malabon, Sucat and areas near creeks that had overflowed.
Rubber boats were also deployed to the Camanava area (Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas and Valenzuela) area, Quezon City, Marikina City, Pateros and Las Pinas Cities.
“We are conducting sporadic rescue operations, maximizing our meager resources,” Tolentino said.
The agency’s assistance was also being sought in enforcing forced evacuation of villages tagged high-risk, including the dozens of families living near a landslide site in the Litex compound in Barangay Bayanihan, Commonwealth, Quezon City. Five homes were buried there, and nine people died, but DENR geologists said homes nearby were at peril from further slides as the rain-soaked soil behind their homes could collapse any time.
Tolentino used radio to summon active duty volunteer groups, especially those trained by the MMDA, to join in the rescue operations.
“Just head to the MMDA headquarters on Edsa Guadalupe, those whose families are safe, we are calling for your help, especially fire brigades, please. Just go here so we can synchronize our efforts,” the chairman said.
Tolentino also urged affected residents not to wait for the rescue teams before evacuating their homes.
“The problem is some residents are hard-headed, I hope that they listen and act immediately,” he added.
Severe flooding was reported in large parts of Metro Manila, making them impassable to vehicles. Submerged areas were reported in Camanava area (Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, Valenzuela); areas in Marikina City; Talayan, Araneta, E. Rodriguez and parts of Quezon City near the overflowing La Mesa Dam; Roxas Boulevard and other parts of Manila, and parts of San Juan; Makati diversion channel South Superhighway in Buendia; Maysilo,Boni-Kalentong, Panaderos and Acacia lane in Mandaluyong City, among others.
Under the agency’s watch are areas located near the Marikina River, Valenzuela, Malabon, where several families were evacuated.
MMDA also advised people, especially those living near the river, creeks and waterways, to follow the directives of local government units.
The MMDA also suspended the number coding scheme in Metro Manila for Tuesday.