Police in storm-wrecked Davao Oriental have asked the provincial government to impose a curfew in three towns amid reports of looting of stores and warehouses.

Senior Supt. Rommil Mitra, Davao Oriental Provincial Police director, said the Department of Agriculture has complained that looters stole rice from a National Food Authority (NFA) warehouse in Cateel.

“Kaya nga nag-request kami ng curfew kay Governor (Corazon Malanyaon), mag-issue siya ng executive order para mas madali, marestore ‘yung order,” Mitra said in a phone interview Saturday.

Cateel, along with Boston and Baganga, were hit hard by typhoon “Pablo” on Tuesday and are still without electricity.

The ER Supermarket in Baganga was also reportedly looted, but local authorities have yet to release an investigation report on the incident, 2Lt. Zaida Vidad, spokeswoman of the Army’s 701st Brigade based in Mati City, said.

“Pagka madilim na, nandiyan na ‘yung problema, ‘yung mga looting… mas mabuti kung mas maaga meron nang curfew kasi totally blackout sa mga area na ‘yan,” Mitra said.

“Ni-recommend namin na kung pupuwede magkaroon ng curfew dito sa tatlong lugar para maiwasan ‘yung mga violation sa gabi, ‘yung mga criminal what-not.”

Mitra said he has asked the chief of police in Cateel to explain the incident at the NFA warehouse and directed the latter, as well as police in Boston and Baganga, to guard stores and warehouses.

The task comes as police and other security forces in Davao Oriental still have their hands full in distributing relief goods, clearing roads of debris, and searching for at least 27 people who remain missing.

Mitra said he asked for additional policemen to help get the jobs done.

Some 73 policemen from Davao del Norte, the Police Regional Office 11 in Davao City, the Police Regional Office 13 in neighboring Caraga region have already arrived and more are expected to come, Mitra said.

Meanwhile, the number of deaths caused by “Pablo” in Davao Oriental reached 227.

One-hundred and eighteen died in Baganga, 59 in Cateel, 27 in Boston, 17 in Caraga town, three in Mati City, two in Tarragona, and one in Manay, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported Friday night.

A total of 559 people, mostly in Baganga, were injured while 27 remain missing in Caraga, Baganga, and Cateel, according to the PDRRMC. (John Roson)

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