Sunday, 9 December 2012

PIA News Dispatch - Saturday, December 8, 2012

President Aquino declares State of National Calamity to speed up relief operations and reconstruction of typhoon-damaged areas

President Benigno S. Aquino III declared Friday night a State of National Calamity to hasten the rescue, relief and rehabilitation efforts after Typhoon Pablo devastated several provinces in Mindanao.

Proclamation No. 522, issued by the President, allows local government units to utilize their respective calamity funds for the rescue, relief and rehabilitation efforts in their areas.

It will also hasten the government and the private sector’s release of assistance, including international humanitarian donations, and will effectively control the prices of basic goods and commodities for the affected areas.

The declaration also necessitates that the mechanisms for international humanitarian assistance are implemented pursuant to Republic Act No. 10121, otherwise known as the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010.

With the issuance, the President tasked all departments and concerned government agencies to carry out medical assistance, relief and rehabilitation work in accordance with existing operational plans and directives and orders.

The President’s declaration of a State of National Calamity automatically imposes price controls on basic goods in affected areas. It also mandates lending institutions to grant zero-interest loans to the most affected section of the population through cooperatives or through people's organizations.

Devastating rains, floods, landslides and flashfloods caused by Typhoon Pablo have brought a large number of casualties and destruction to peoples’ lives and properties.

Hard-hit areas include the provinces of Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental and Davao del Norte in Region 11; Surigao del Sur in CARAGA Region; Lanao del Norte, Misamis Oriental and Cagayan de Oro City in Region 10; Siquijor in Region 7; and, Palawan in Region 4-B.

The government is currently spearheading national efforts to undertake immediate rescue, recovery, relief and rehabilitation in affected provinces.

Also on Friday, the President checked out the devastated areas in New Bataan in Compostela Valley and Boston in Davao Oriental. He also instructed government agencies to speed up relief and search operations, as well as the reconstruction of damaged roads and bridges so that needed goods and services could reach heavily damaged areas. PND (as)

Palace: Government to prosecute negligent officials in Mindanao devastation

The government is ready to file charges against local officials who neglected their duties during the devastation of Typhoon Pablo that resulted to a large number of casualties.

President Benigno S. Aquino III has ordered the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to investigate the devastation caused by typhoon to prevent further loss of lives in the future.

In a radio interview over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan on Saturday, Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the government will hold accountable those who neglected their duties regardless of their party affiliation.

“Whoever is accountable will not be spared. Wala dapat halong pulitika kapag ganito na buhay ng mga tao ang pinag-uusapan natin. Hindi dapat mahaluan ng pulitika,” Valte said.

However, Valte said she doesn’t want to preempt whatever the decision would be on the inquiry ordered by the President.

“The President has indeed ordered the probe but we don’t want to be accused of favoring a particular person or persecuting, as their favorite term would be, but we will wait for the results,” she said.

The President said during a media interview at the Davao International Airport on Friday that the inquiry is aimed at minimizing, if not eliminating, the large number of deaths during calamities such as typhoons.

Typhoons, arriving in the country is a yearly occurrence and the government must have an effective disaster plan to limit the effects of the weather disturbance to the general population, he said.

After touring the municipality of New Bataan in Compostela Valley, he said there must be effective plans and proper selection of safe areas when relocating people to higher grounds, the President said.

He said New Bataan absorbed so much water and the people were evacuated in low-lying areas still vulnerable to flashfloods.

The President also visited Friday Boston town in Davao Oriental, also severely damaged by Typhoon Pablo. He said he wanted to see the town rebuilt in a safer area, where it can be shielded from strong winds whenever there are similar disturbances in the future. PND (as)

Government working to prevent spread of diseases in typhoon-damaged areas

Malacanang said the government is doing everything it can to prevent the spread of diseases in evacuations centers in typhoon-ravaged areas in Mindanao and at the same time appealed for peoples’ cooperation.

“The Department of Health is doing what it can in the evacuation areas to make sure that disease doesn’t spread. But we also need the cooperation of the evacuees themselves to keep their areas clean dahil siksikan sila doon,” Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a radio interview Saturday over government-run dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

The cramped condition in evacuations centers could easily cause the outbreak of diseases, particularly involving young children, Valte said assuring the people that the DOH is working to address the health concerns of the evacuees.

As to the water supply, teams from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) arrived in disaster areas with the water filtration systems, she said.

To address concerns on the possible outbreak of diseases because of decomposing dead bodies, Valte said the President has also ordered local government units and national agencies to coordinate their efforts in cleaning up and retrieval operations.

“Ang directive ni President Aquino kahapon doon sa mga local officials at saka sa mga national government officials is to provide what is necessary sa rescue, relief and other assistance na kailangan sa disaster areas,” she said.

There are health concerns because of lack of body bags as the death toll has reached more than 400. Valte said more body bags will be sent.

The government is also ready to mobilize the military to make more coffins to address the shortage, Valte said adding that the government did the same during the devastation of Typhoon Sendong in Cagayan de Oro City.

Valte said the President is also not in favor of carrying out mass burials considering the sensitivities of the people who lost their loved ones.

“Gusto ng Pangulo talaga na either ma-rescue or mahanap man lang ang katawan para mabigyan ng closure ang kanilang mga mahal sa buhay,” Valte said.

During a briefing with the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) at the Davao International Airport on Friday, the President said he wanted the missing people found or rescued.

He suggested carrying out centralized efforts in providing relief assistance, rehabilitation, as well as search and rescue of the missing individuals. Centralizing government actions will maximize the use of its resources and assets as it responds to the typhoon aftermath, he said. PND (as)