Duterte wants closer look at state of Siargao, Dinagat Islands

Published December 22, 2021, 12:40 AM

by Raymund Antonio

President Duterte says he will visit Dinagat Islands and Siargao on Wednesday, Dec. 22, to see first hand the extent of damages caused by typhoon “Odette” (international name: Rai).

President Rodrigo Duterte addresses the nation on Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2021. (RTVM Screenshot)

The Chief Executive had earlier visited Maasin, Leyte; Bohol; Cebu, and Negros Occidental to assess the situation there.

“Malaki ang balikan ko bukas (I’ll return to a large area tomorrow) because of the damage,” he said during his pre-taped “Talk to the People” public briefing, which aired late Tuesday night.

Duterte also said that he ordered National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Executive Director and Civil Defense Administrator Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad to report to him the extent of damage sustained from the typhoon within 48 hours, or on Friday.

READ: Duterte commits P10B more to ‘Odette’-ravaged provinces

The President, however, lamented that he cannot yet have “a true and accurate count of the [damage] suffered by the areas or the people”. All he expects from the report are “estimates”.

“It’s a money intended for other purpose, we can always replace it. I said give me until or before Friday, puwede na (that’s good enough). I assure you that it will be given this week. At the very least, pinakamabilis na paraan (that’s the fastest way),” Duterte said, referring to the approval of the relief aid for the typhoon victims.

He earlier signed a declaration putting six regions under a state of calamity, as recommended by NDRRMC.

READ: 6 regions placed under ‘state of calamity’; Duterte signs declaration on cam

These are Regions IV-B, VI, VII, VIII, X and XIII.

The declaration of the state of calamity will hasten the rescue, relief and rehabilitation efforts of the government and the private sector.

It will also control the prices of goods and commodities in the areas.

Under Republic Act (RA) No. 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010, a “state of calamity” is defined as “a condition involving mass casualty and/or major damages to property, disruption of means of livelihoods, roads and normal way of life of people in the affected areas as a result of the occurrence of natural or human-induced hazard.”

The death toll caused by Odette rose to 375 on Monday, Dec. 20, officials said.

The particular typhoon–the strongest to hit the country this year–made a total of nine landfalls.