The government should prioritize the construction of sturdy evacuation centers to provide shelter to vulnerable population during disasters, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte said on Tuesday as he asked lawmakers to act on it.
“Alam mo, it is high time that government consider really, of course, in the government units facing the Pacific Ocean, gamit na gamit ito na we build a strong structure, stronger than a typhoon that would come their way para mapuntahan ng mga tao, and maybe small rooms with many comfort rooms where people can really stay for a while,” the President said in a public address on government response on the coronavirus pandemic.
At present, schools and public buildings are being used as evacuation centers, which the President said creates “an aberration in the movement or in the development” of governmental functions and education.
“Iyan nga ang sanang tugunan ng Congress, Senator Bong Go, kasi pagka itong ganitong a deluge, they tend to go to places for shelter and relief,” he said.
Assessing typhoon damages, the President said that despite the ferocity of the weather disturbances, the government was able to manage the disaster well because of the commendable performance of security forces and government agencies.
The President said that comparing the impact of Typhoons Rolly, Siony, Tonyo and Ulysses to previous typhoons, the damages and casualties left by the recent calamities were comparably smaller, adding that this is due to the administration’s extensive preparations prior to the typhoons’ impact.
“But despite of its fury, we were able to manage. Hindi naman… I know that it leaves a bad taste in the mouth to say that minimal ang namatay. Pero hindi kagaya ng Ondoy,” he said.
President Duterte praised government troops for their rescue efforts, lauding Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana for taking the lead in the planning and deployment of government personnel.
The government’s initiative to buy new equipment for security forces such as rubber boats has helped save more lives during rescue operations, he pointed out.
Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, who is also present during the meeting, said the impact of the typhoons was mitigated by the President’s order for government agencies to conduct early coordination and planning as well as deployment of troops and other personnel.
Striving for zero casualty in calamities in the future, Año said government agencies including the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), National Irrigation Administration (NIA), and the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) are committed to further improve their disaster management and strategies.
On November 1, Super Typhoon Rolly, internationally known as Typhoon Goni, battered the Bicol Region and Southern Luzon. It was followed by Typhoons Siony and Tonyo.
And on November 11, Typhoon Ulysses, internationally known as Typhoon Vamco, devastated Quezon Province, Central Luzon, and the Bicol Region with heavy precipitation and strong winds.
The successive typhoons that ravaged the country left billions worth of damages in agriculture and infrastructures in its wake. PND