Senator Christopher “Bong” Go on Sunday assured the public that he and President Duterte are constantly monitoring the situation and updates on the expected onslaught of Super-typhoon “Rolly,” which already made two landfalls in Catanduanes and Tiwi, Albay.
During a radio interview Saturday, Go said President Duterte has already given directives to concerned government agencies to ensure preparedness and proper response to the effects of the typhoon.
“President Duterte is constantly monitoring the status of the typhoon. The President wants all government agencies to be prepared in giving immediate assistance to places expected to be hit by the weather disturbance,” Go said.
He said the President is currently in Mindanao but he could return to Metro Manila as soon as possible when weather permits it.
Touted as possibly 2020’s strongest typhoon, Go said that aside from mitigating its effects, the government is focused on immediately restoring normalcy once Rolly has left the country.
“As usual, the President wants the situation to normalize after the passage of the typhoon. That is his usual advice to government agencies,” Go said.
“This includes the usual repair of damaged infrastructures which is the work of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), restoration of power lines which is the work of the Department of Energy (DOE), and search and rescue operation and distribution of relief goods and other needs,” he added.
Go, chairman of the Senate health and demography committee, said the police force and the military are on high alert and ready to respond to the crisis.
He stated that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has already prepared and prepositioned relief and financial assistance to those who will be hit by the typhoon.
Go assured that various government agencies are coordinating with their counterparts in the local level, saying, “Coordination with other government agencies continues. I have talked to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and the whole National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) is focused on the barangay level,” Go said.
Meanwhile, Go urged local government units (LGUs) to ensure that they have evacuation centers that are ready to accommodate evacuees while strictly implementing health and safety protocols necessary to avoid the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and other diseases.
“We don’t want COVID-19 infection at evacuation centers. We should ensure that health protocols are followed such as wearing of masks. Hand-washing stations of evacuees, particularly at evacuation centers must be provided. Children must be protected as they will be affected by the cold atmosphere during rains,” he added.
Go advised affected Filipinos to remain vigilant, cooperate with authorities, and make preparations to protect their safety above everything else.
“Monitor official announcements and don’t believe in fake news. When told to evacuate, do it. Don’t go out into the sea when told not to do so. Follow instructions as it is your life that is at stake here. Officials care for you,” he added.
According to Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad, the OCD will conduct preemptive evacuation operations in danger zones in Bicol region, Calabarzon and Mimaropa. The NDRRMC also released an advisory restricting the sail of vessels in the country’s eastern seaboard.
Go said that he has already appealed to national agencies to assist local government units that would be severely affected by the typhoon as most of their calamity funds might have already been depleted due to the pandemic.
“Five percent of local budgets is set aside for calamity of which 70 percent is to be used for disaster preparedness programs and 30 percent for QRF. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the LGUs may have already spent their calamity funds,” he said.
“I have talked to Budget Secretary Avisado on the possibility of the Executive branch to help places to be hit by the typhoon so that they could buy food and other needs,” he added.