MANILA, Nov. 15 — The Palace calls on the Filipinos’ spirit of bayanihan as the nation reels from the aftermath of typhoon Ulysses that submerged areas in the National Capital Region and Northern Luzon, particularly the provinces of Cagayan and Isabela.
President Duterte who flew to Cagayan to monitor the situation and convene with his Cabinet, had announced a day earlier, November 14, the creation of a task force that will hasten and streamline rehabilitation efforts in communities devastated by typhoons.“Malinaw po ang mensahe na pinarating ng ating Presidente Rodrigo Roa Duterte dito sa mga taga-Cagayan, hindi po nya kayo iiwan, lahat po ng pangangailangan susubukan ibigay ng gobyerno at magbabayanihan po tayo. We will heal as one, we will recover as one,” said Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr in a press conference that followed the situation briefing with the President in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan, on Sunday, November 15.
Secretary Roque explained that the said the task force will serve as a body that will fill the role of the Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR). Sec. Roque added that the task force will ensure the fast delivery of government assistance to those affected by the calamity.
“(A)ng sabi ng Presidente this Task Force will be headed by the Executive Secretary with all the members of the Cabinet constituting its members… And since it is headed by no less than the Executive Secretary himself, inaaasahan po natin na mas mabilis yung pagbibigay ng tulong sa ating mga kababayan,” said the Palace spokesman.
In the said press conference, members of the President’s Cabinet ensured that aid is available for the province of Cagayan and the whole of Region 2.
Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba said that the Department of Agriculture (DA) has given P846 million plus additional P18-Million for rice for each of the towns in the province. Gov Mamba said that the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) also gave P50-Million for Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) for emergency hiring of workers to help in the cleanup of affected areas. Mamba added that Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go also gave the province of Cagayan P5-Million as assistance.
Meanwhile, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has identified P1.6-Billion worth of projects that needed to be done in Region 2, and said that the department has P1-Billion stand-by fund that can be used for calamity response. DPWH Secretary Mark Villar also assured that repair and construction of damaged infrastructures are continuous.
Secretary William Dar affirmed that the DA gave P846.7-Million for the province of Cagayan, including 14,500 bags of rice valued at P18-Million from the National Food Authority (NFA). Sec. Dar added that the DA will also give P1.01-Billion for Isabela, P148-Million for Nueva Vizcaya, and P96-Million for Quirino province. Dar also assured that the country still has 92 days-worth of rice inventory that is enough for three months or beyond.
DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III meanwhile said that the TUPAD program will allow Gov. Mamba to hire 5,000 emergency workers to clean-up the province, and promised to give the same assistance to the province of Isabela. (OPS-PCOO)