Del Carmen, Siargao Islands, Surigao del Norte – Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar and his crew from government media is back in Siargao on Monday morning to assist affected individuals and families and establish a more robust Laging Handa Communication Center.
The whole island was one of the areas badly hit by Super Typhoon Odette the previous week, where communications and electricity lines were damaged due to strong winds and heavy rains. Neighboring areas in Surigao del Norte and Dinagat Islands were also not spared.
During the Emergency NDRRMC Full Council Meeting last Friday, December 17, 2021, Secretary Andanar sought the assistance of the Office of the Civil Defense to reach out to these areas and allow government media to report the situation on the ground. An initial assessment was done the next day, where PCOO and OCD personnel ferried satellite telecoms with the help of the Philippine Air Force (PAF).
“My PCOO team and I are back in Siargao Island to bring food packs, assist stranded passengers, establish a more robust Laging Handa Communication Center, update our incommunicado kababayans stranded on the island about the national government’s efforts and to reach the still impassable communities in Burgos, San Isidro and Pilar,” Secretary Andanar said in his message today.
According to the PCOO chief, the Sayak Airport in Siargao is packed with local residents and tourists taking their chances to catch the next available flight out of the island. A Laging Handa Panawagan Center at the Sayak Airport is ready for stranded individuals waiting for their ride home.
A C130 is expected to arrive today to shuttle stranded tourists out of the island.
A satellite internet courtesy of the PCOO Laging Handa Crisis Communication will be established today at the Sayak Airport to complement the existing SAT Telecoms of the OCD and Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT). It will also allow PCOO, PTV, PNA, IBC, RTVM and Radyo Pilipinas to broadcast LIVE continuously while communication lines are still being fixed.
Three Telescopic Truck Cranes are also on their way to Siargao, Surigao City and Dinagat Islands to help in the clearing operations and recovery efforts.
Secretary Andanar assured the public that government intervention to all affected areas is currently being undertaken. He also bared more assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) which will arrive on December 22, 2021. Family Food packs will be boarded on a Philippine Navy’s BRP Ang Pangulo ship (ACS25).
While there, the PCOO team will be providing updates of the affected areas, including Surigao City and Dinagat Islands.
“The PCOO team is currently arranging a chopper ride to Surigao City and Dinagat for tomorrow, December 21, to bring food packs, establish a remote LH Panawagan Center and to document the damages caused by Typhoon Odette,” Secretary Andanar noted.