President Rodrigo Duterte vowed to look for another P2 billion to augment his initial commitment of P2 billion to aid the recovery of provinces devastated by Typhoon “Odette.”
He made this promise as he toured Bohol province to assess the typhoon’s impact and met with local officials to know their immediate needs. He also led the distribution of assistance to typhoon survivors.
“So, what’s important is you listen to your officials because we’re going to download the money in the bank so they can get money immediately,” he said during the distribution of assistance in Inabanga, Bohol.
“So, we gave P2 billion, and you’ll divide the amount. We’ve already started giving assistance, so I’ll look for another P2 billion,” he said, as the United Nations and other international agencies also assessed the damage and pledged to help.
Duterte promised the people that the assistance from the national government will arrive, but he asked for patience as his administration readies the release of government aid.
“Just give us a bit more time because if you’re from the government, there’ll be plenty of paperwork,” he said. “For every move you make, there’s a layer of papers that are… This is the way it is with the government. And if you try to rush things, there’ll be some problems,” he added.
The President said the government racked up “huge debts” for its COVID-19 response and would have to wait until the 2022 national budget “so we will have more money to spend.”
“What I’m certain will arrive today if not tomorrow, it’s a convoy, are rice and water. After that, please give us more time to give the money, billion that I promised,” he said.
Duterte vowed to give priority to those who were left with nothing.
“Just don’t be selfish, just wait for your turn. We will have to help first those who have nothing right now. But for those whose houses are still intact and just need some repairs, you’ll be next to receive help,” he added.
The National Housing Authority (NHA) will quickly build 5,000 to 30,000 houses for the typhoon survivors, Duterte said.
Metro Manila mayors, meanwhile, have agreed to release P100 million to help local government units affected by Typhoon Odette.
Members of the Metro Manila Council (MMC) approved a resolution to release funds from the savings of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to extend assistance to the affected areas.
The MMC, which composed of 17 mayors in the National Capital Region, is the governing board and the policy-making body of the MMDA.
“We are going to prioritize local government units stricken by… typhoon Odette,” said MMDA chairman Benjamin Abalos Jr.
“This financial aid will help especially in these trying times. It’s Christmas after all, a time of sharing and giving,” Abalos said.
The MMDA chief said they opted to provide financial aid to help out typhoon-affected LGUs with their efforts to recover from the severe damage inflicted by Odette, instead of relief goods because it is difficult to transport in and out of the localities hit by the typhoon and several flights remain canceled.
“Affected LGUs are in the best position to decide how the fund can provide for the immediate needs of their constituents. We hope this aid will somehow alleviate the plight of the typhoon victims,” Abalos said.
Transmission operator National Grid Corp. of the Philippines on Monday said it successfully energized the provinces of Samar, Cebu, and Leyte which were ravaged by typhoon Odette.
Power transmission services were gradually extended to parts of Samar, Cebu, and Leyte, the company said, after Odette damaged 12 towers and 462 transmission structures.
NGCP said it has fully restored transmission services to the provinces of Capiz, Antique, Iloilo, Biliran, Camiguin, Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental, Lanao del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, and Davao Oriental.
But NGCP said the restoration schedule refers only to transmission services, and not to distribution services or generating capacity. For complete restoration of power, all distribution and transmission facilities and sufficient generating capacity must be available.
Forty-four teams from the Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association, Inc. have been assigned to help in the restoration of distribution systems of electric cooperatives affected by typhoon Odette.
Philreca said this initial batch of Task Force Kapatid contingents composed of 170 line workers (identified contingents from some teams) will be deployed in certain areas of Regions 6, 7, 8, 10, and CARAGA.
The group said more electric cooperatives have also expressed and confirmed their commitment to send line workers, equipment, and needed materials to other typhoon Odette-affected electric cooperatives in Visayas and Mindanao.
Bohol is among the provinces hardest hit by Typhoon Odette, which made several landfalls in different localities across Mindanao and Visayas last week.
The super typhoon affected thousands of families and caused heavy damage to key infrastructure in the affected regions.
Typhoon Odette is one of the strongest tropical cyclones to hit Southern Leyte this year. The typhoon made its third landfall in the
province on Thursday afternoon with maximum sustained winds of 195kph and gustiness of up to 270kph.
Severe damage across the Visayas region and several provinces in Mindanao have been reported following the typhoon’s onslaught. Joel E. Zurbano