President Rodrigo Duterte visited areas hit by tropical storm “Auring” in Caraga Region on Tuesday to see for himself the damage caused by the tropical storm, a Palace official said.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said Duterte was accompanied by some Cabinet members to issue directives on what has to be done to respond to the needs of residents there.
“Weather permitting, the President intends to visit and bring with him some Cabinet members so that action will be fast if he sees gaps or what needs to be done over and above what is already being done by government,” he said in a virtual presser.
At the same time, the Department of Agriculture on Tuesday said agricultural damage and losses incurred due to “Auring” was now at P21.56 million affecting 240 farmers and 1,756 hectares of farmlands nationwide.
“The affected commodities include rice, corn, high-value crops, livestock and fisheries in Caraga Region. The increase in values is attributed to the additional reports from Caraga. These values are still subject to validation.” DA said in its report.
The DA reported that around 12,538 hectares of rice have been harvested from Regions 3, 4-A, 4-B, 8 and 10 with an equivalent production of 71,840 metric tons amounting to P1.31 billion due to the early advisories.
For corn, a total of 3,201 hectares have been harvested from Regions 4-A, 4-B, 5, 6 and 11 with an equivalent production of 6,296 MT amounting to P94.42 million.
Nograles said a situation briefing might also take place after the President had made his visual assessment of the damage there.
“We already got a briefing last night but the briefing will continue (later when) Duterte (is) on the ground. Based on the briefing and the reports and his visual observation on the ground, he will give his directives,” he said.
Meanwhile, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council deputy spokesperson Mark Cashean Timbal, in an update Tuesday, said the number of families affected by “Auring” had climbed to 31,884\ residing in Regions 5 (Bicol Region), 10 (Northern Mindanao, 11 (Davao Region), and 13 (Caraga Region).
This can be broken down into the following: Region 5, 8 families; Region 10, 18 families; Region 11, 566 families; and Caraga with 31,292 families.
Timbal also said that one fatality was reported in Caraga while two others remain missing.
Also damaged were 240 houses in Regions 11 and Caraga. Nograles also gave assurances that local government units and concerned agencies had been responding to the situation in the region.
“Right now, government efforts are ongoing so the president will just issue additional orders in case he sees something that still needs to be done,” he added.
Nograles also hailed ongoing relief, rescue, and response operations being conducted in affected areas.
“We continue to monitor the situation on the ground…We’d like to commend and salute all our government officials, employees, and workers who are currently in the thick of the rescue, relief, and response operations on the ground. We continue to monitor the situation and act quickly especially in helping our citizens who were really affected,” he said.
Reports showed that Tandag River in Surigao del Sur swelled amid the onslaught of "Auring" which caused flooding in parts of the province.
The floodwaters were at least knee-deep in the communities with higher elevation.
As of Monday, around 112,734 individuals had been affected by "Auring" with zero casualties. A total 69,682 individuals had been evacuated.
Financial assistance has been extended to all those affected.
Officials said the DA regional field office in Caraga had rolled out some P5.44 million worth of interventions to facilitate the early recovery of farmers and fisherfolk affected by the weather disturbance.
Meanwhile, DA said they had available Quick Response Fund for the rehabilitation of affected areas; 51,070 bags of rice seeds, 7,029 bags of corn seeds; and 17,576 kgs of assorted vegetable seeds from Regions 3, 4-A, 4-B, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12 and 13.
They also have available drugs and biologics for livestock and poultry needs as well as fish stocks from Regions 11 and 13 amounting to a total of P1.48 billion.
Farmers are also encouraged to apply for the Survival and Recovery (SURE) Loan Program of Agricultural Credit Policy Council.
“The Department is in close coordination with concerned LGUs (local government units) and other DRRM (Disaster Risk Reduction Management)-related offices for the impact of 'Auring'. Close monitoring is also ongoing for further damage(s) and losses that may be incurred in the agri-fisheries sector,” the DA said.