PRRD on top of situation, task force to oversee rehab of typhoon-hit areas unnecessary — Palace

Published November 4, 2020, 11:33 AM

by Genalyn Kabiling

The proposed creation of a task force to oversee the rehabilitation of typhoon-hit areas might be unnecessary since President Duterte is already on top of the situation, Malacañang said Wednesday.

This handout photo taken and received from the Philippine Coast Guard on November 2, 2020, shows an aerial view of destroyed houses on the island province of Catanduanes, in the aftermath of Typhoon Goni. (Photo by Handout / Philippine Coast Guard / AFP)

According to presidential spokesman Harry Roque, the President is focused on facilitating the swift rehabilitation of communities ravaged by typhoon “Rolly,” particularly to ensure that the basic needs of the people are addressed.

“What we’re saying is number one, the government was prepared for this. We have prepositioned equipment for DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) and food packs. Number two, the President is on top of rehabilitation efforts,” he said on CNN Philippines Wednesday.

“The task force may not be necessary because the President is personally attending to ensure that the rehabilitation of these devastated areas will proceed as soon as possible,” he said.

Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte recently proposed the formation of a task force to lead the rebuilding of the storm-ravaged areas in Bicol region and Calabarzon (Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon). He said the task force could provide the President information on the extent of the damage caused by the typhoon last weekend.

Roque said the President already made an aerial inspection over Albay and Catanduanes and saw the extent of the devastation. He said government agencies have been directed by the President to take all necessary steps to help the storm-hit communities.

“The task now is to rebuild and we’re focused now on the numbers. Catanduanes is completely isolated,” Roque said, citing the President’s order to authorities to restore power, telecommunications, and water in the island province which reportedly suffered the most devastation from the typhoon.

He said military planes have delivered food and water supplies to Catanduanes while the transport authorities will deploy a ship to bring additional relief supplies.

The labor department has also committed to provide emergency employment to 5,000 residents in Catanduanes to help clear the road of debris after the onslaught of “Rolly.”

Roque said the President was so far satisfied with the disaster preparedness of government agencies and local government units that helped minimize the number of casualties.

“We were able to limit the casualties and it could have been more because it was a super typhoon but he’s pleased to note the local government units acted promptly in asking residents in low-lying areas to evacuate and thereby reducing, minimizing the number of casualties,” he said.

Typhoon “Rolly” left a trail of death and destruction after hammering areas in the Bicol region and other areas in Luzon with torrential rains and winds last weekend. Twenty- 24 people were killed while the cost of damage to infrastructure and agriculture reached more than P6 billion, according to authorities.