President Duterte gave direct instructions to his Cabinet officials to respond to the key needs of residents of Cebu and Bohol, which were ravaged by typhoon “Odette” over the weekend.
This was confirmed in a statement Monday afternoon, Dec. 20 by Cabinet Secretary and Acting Presidential Spokesperson Karlo Nograles.
Among those receiving tasks from the President were the Secretaries of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD), Department of Energy (DOE), and Department of Agriculture (DA),
“President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, together with Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go and other government officials, inspected yesterday, Dec. 19, 2021, the typhoon-affected areas in Cebu and Bohol,” Nograles said.
“In the Municipality of Argao, Cebu, the President interacted with the local government officials and evacuees in the area. He instructed DHSUD Secretary Eduardo del Rosario to provide housing assistance to residents whose places of residence have been damaged by the typhoon,” he noted.
Npgrales said the Chief Executive likewise instructed DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi to call on the private sector to help and encourage gas stations to open and operate.
“In addition, the DOE is working double time to restore energy in Cebu. At the time of the President’s visit to Cebu, electricity has been restored in some parts of Cebu for utilities such as hospitals, among others,” the acting Palace spokesperson said.
The DA, on the other hand, has allocated P445.1-M to assist farmers and fisherfolks in the region who suffered heavily due to the damage caused by typhoon Odette. DA Secretary William Dar was also part of Duterte’s entourage.
The Chief Executive also visited the province of Bohol where he interacted with the local government officials and evacuees.
In Inabanga town, Duterte explained to local folk that a big portion of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) fund had been utilized for the government’s coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response, including quarantine expenses for returning overseas Filipino workers (OFW).
But despite the ongoing COVID-19 problem, the President underscored that the government must help because people need help.
He then committed that the national government will urgently provide for the needs of typhoon-hit areas and their residents, which include rice and water, construction materials for rebuilding of damaged houses, and housing assistance, with topmost priority given to the poor.
The President likewise conveyed that with the new budget for 2022, more funds can be utilized for response and recovery efforts. The P5.024-trillion budget plan for next year only needs Duterte’s signature for it to be enacted.
“As we continue to fully assess the damage brought by typhoon Odette to our people’s livelihood and property and to the local economy, let us remain united in the midst of adversity to help one another and exemplify the Filipino bayanihan spirit,” Nograles said.