|23 December 2015|
|President Aquino visits Northern Samar to assess typhoon damage|
|(CATARMAN, Northern Samar) President Benigno S. Aquino III arrived here on Wednesday to assess the damage inflicted by Typhoon Nona that hit the province last December 14.
During a briefing with local officials, President Aquino pledged the government’s readiness to disburse funds for relief and rehabilitation of Northern Samar, once local governments are able to submit a detailed rehabilitation and reconstruction plan.
The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) reported on Tuesday that the typhoon affected some 137,549 families, out of Northern Samar’s total population of 657,362.
The council also reported 13 deaths, 1,095 injured, 9 missing, and 42,692 totally damaged houses.
It estimated the total damage to the province’s agriculture sector at P211 million, with damage to rice farms amounting to P65,061,959; high-value crops (P36,022,287); the fishery sector (P36,023,250); and banana plantations (P28,708,801).
According to the PDRRMC, Typhoon Nona also destroyed P2.6 million worth of agriculture infrastructure.
The council put the total damage to the coconut sector at P957.9 million, as the typhoon affected 47 percent of the province’s coconut farms, out of the 130,222 hectares intended for coconut farming.
Damage to Northern Samar’s roads and bridges was calculated at P550 million; public buildings (P103.2 million); flood control facilities (P373 million); and port facilities (P20 million).
The Department of Education has estimated the damage to schools and school facilities at P1.34 billion, as the typhoon affected about 77 percent of the total number of classrooms in the province.
Among the hardest hit municipalities are Biri, Catarman and Laoang, local reports said.
Aside from holding a briefing and a forum with local officials, the President also led the distribution of relief goods to a number of families from Catarman, the second round of the government’s relief assistance.
The relief assistance of the Department of Social Welfare and Development is ongoing throughout Northern Samar. PND (as)
|President Aquino wants Northern Samar farmers to have alternative source of livelihood|
|(CATARMAN, Northern Samar) President Benigno S. Aquino III has said he wants coconut farmers to cultivate other crops as an alternative source of livelihood, after Typhoon Nona destroyed a significant number of coconut trees in Northern Samar.
President Aquino arrived here on Wednesday to assess the damage left behind by Typhoon Nona and lead the distribution of relief assistance to affected residents.
Local officials who briefed the President proposed the cultivation of alternative crops, such as cacao and vegetables that could produce yield in a few months.
They expressed concern over the people’s source of income, as large swathes of land intended for coconut farming have been affected by the typhoon, leaving them without livelihood for the next several years if no alternative source is provided.
Heavy damage to coconut trees would render them unproductive for five to seven years, according to local officials.
As an alternative source of income, the President said the people could plant other crops, such as cacao and vegetables, so they could earn money in the next few months.
He said he also wants local governments to submit a rehabilitation plan that details how to provide the people with livelihood.
A proposal for cacao cultivation in Northern Samar could support an existing program by Nestlé, which until now heavily sources raw materials from abroad.
The President said Nestlé imports about 80 percent of its raw materials but wants to increase materials sourced locally, so long as local farmers could support its production needs.
Local agriculture officials meanwhile said they will provide farmers with seeds and planting materials so they could start production in the next cropping season.
They also expressed their readiness to distribute rice seeds to areas damaged by Typhoon Nona, in coordination with Northern Samar’s local executives.
They said they will soon deliver the seeds to different municipalities so farmers could immediately start farming.
The provincial agriculture department will also start distributing vegetable seeds in the next two weeks to give farmers a source of income in the aftermath of the typhoon.
The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council has estimated the total damage to the province’s agriculture sector at P211 million, with damage to rice farms amounting to P65,061,959; high-value crops (P36,022,287); the fishery sector (P36,023,250); and banana plantations (P28,708,801).
According to the council, Typhoon Nona also destroyed P2.6 million worth of agriculture infrastructure. PND (as)
|DSWD Chief condemns attacks on soldiers delivering relief assistance|
|(CATARMAN, Northern Samar) Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman condemned the attacks on military personnel transporting relief goods to typhoon-affected communities in Norther Samar saying such violence is not necessary as communities grapple to recover.
“Itutuloy-tuloy namin because we continue to work with the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police,” Soliman said during a briefing with President Aquino here in Catarman on Wednesday.
“And an appeal to the local government units: pasabihan ho ninyo kung sino ang mga gumagawa niyan na lahat ho ng pamilya binibigyan kasama na ang kanilang mga anak at pamilya.”
“Kaya ihinto na nila ito. Hindi na karapat-dapat na ginagawa ito under humanitarian assistance effort.”
Soldiers from 8th Infantry Division, transporting relief goods, were ambushed by communist insurgents Tuesday morning in Las Navas, a remote area in the second district of Northern Samar. The attack killed one soldier and injured two others.
Last week, personnel from 546th Engineering Battalion 81st Recon Company were also attacked while delivering relief goods to Northern Samar.
The DSWD is already in the second round of hauling relief packs that contain rice and canned goods. The department targets to distribute GI sheets to affected communities at the end of January.
Complementing the distribution of construction materials by the DSWD, the DPWH procures nails, hammers and saws for distribution to help people rebuild.
Soliman reported that 7,200 GI sheets are already in Catarman, 3,600 of which will be given to the municipality of Laoang.
Around 39,000 sheets from Ormoc will land in San Isidro in Northern Samar through a navy boat.
President Aquino visited Northern Samar Wednesday to assess the damage of Typhoon Nona and led the distribution of relief assistance to affected residents. PND (as)
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