Cabinet men ordered to hasten aid to storm-hit Surigao del Sur

Published February 24, 2021, 12:31 AM

by Genalyn Kabiling

President Duterte has given concerned Cabinet members a week to deliver the necessary relief and rehabilitation assistance to areas devastated by tropical storm Auring.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte

At the situation briefing in Tandag, Surigao del Sur Tuesday, the President said he would closely monitor the progress of the relief efforts being conducted by concerned government agencies.

“You have one week to do it. All of you. Padala kayo dito, kung may kulang. If there is anything to be fixed, do it. Come back here,” Duterte told the Cabinet members present in the meeting.

If the concerned officials could not fly back to storm-hit areas, the President ordered them to send competent personnel to extend assistance, from the upgrade of Tandag airport to equipment needed for the road repair. “Kung hindi kayo, then send a competent, huwag yung imbecile, engineer in your office,” he added.

Duterte also told the officials not to compel the local executives to go to Manila just to follow up on their calamity assistance.  “There’s no need for you to go Manila, somebody will come back here..kami na bahala. I’ll follow up the progress,” he added.

The President traveled to storm-hit Surigao del Sur on Tuesday to check the damage caused by tropical storm Auring and extend aid to affected sectors. Prior to the briefing, he conducted an aerial inspection of the places hit by the storm.

In Tuesday’s remarks, the President claimed that the storm damage was “not so bad at all” following his aerial inspection.  Duterte likewise lauded the concerned government workforce for their disaster response efforts, from preemptive evacuation to providing food, water and temporary shelter to affected residents.

Storm Auring, the first tropical cyclone to hit the country, brought heavy rains and triggered floods in some parts of Visayas and Mindanao in recent days.

The storm left one casualty, four missing, and around 29,000 affected families based on a report made by National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) executive director Ricardo Jalad.

Around 240 houses were damaged while 12 road sections and a bridge were affected in five regions. Seven road sections are already passable, according to Jalad.

Jalad said the social welfare department has distributed relief goods while public works personnel conducted clearing operations of roads and bridges.  He also cited the military, police, coast guard, and fire personnel for their assistance in the preemptive evacuation efforts of residents.

He said they were now assessing the extent of the storm damage as well as the interventions needed to help the communities recover from the calamity.

“For our next steps, one is the need to sustain relief operations in areas heavily affected by Auring with the local government units in the lead and supported by national government agencies concerned with augmentation of resources,” he said.