The Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), through the Office of the Global Media and Public Affairs (OGMPA), will feature how the Bicolanos recovered from the recent typhoons with the help of both the national and local government in the 9th episode of the Laging Handa Dokyu series entitled “Oragon.”
In this short documentary, viewers will witness how the Bicol Region prepared for and responded to the typhoons “Rolly” and “Ulysses” that first hit their area, on top of the COVID-19 situation.
“The country faces not only the surge of the COVID-19. In the past few weeks, strong typhoons devastated parts of Luzon one after another. The Bicol Region has been heavily affected by the recent typhoons, flash floods, and lahar from the Mayon Volcano. Thousands of residents have been rescued, and they are still staying in the evacuation center, even when COVID-19 remains to be a threat,” said PCOO Secretary Martin M. Andanar.
Families affected by the recent typhoons, or approximately 930,000 to 3 million individuals, are from 6,321 barangays in Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Bicol, Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), and National Capital Region (NCR).
According to Catanduanes Governor Joseph Cua, the culture of the Bicolanos is to be always prepared for the yearly natural calamities that hit their province.
“We are located on the eastern side of the Pacific, that is why when there is a weak or intense typhoon, it passes through us (Bicol Region). Over the years, we have developed that culture of always being prepared for typhoons,” said Gov. Cua.
“If they (Bicolanos) know that it is a super typhoon, they will seek shelter in well-built houses, and that is what we say is a big factor why we have few casualties here in Catanduanes during the typhoon “Rolly,” Gov. Cua added.
The recent calamities prompted various agencies and other sectors to provide different kinds of assistance to the affected Bicolanos, although the lahar flow from Mayon Volcano made the situation even more difficult.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) allocated more than P680 million for financial and crops assistance, farm equipment, fishing boats, and gears to be distributed to more than 32,761 affected farmers and fishers in the Bicol region.
The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) – Region V Regional Director Claudio Yucot said that the national government was ready to provide cash and food pack assistance, as well as search, rescue, and evacuation operations even before the typhoons “Rolly” and “Ulysses” made landfall in the region.
“Five days before (landfall), it was a low pressure area. Then people knew that there was a typhoon. Three days before (landfall), the national government held a meeting to direct the security sectors and agencies to be prepared for it. The people here in Bicol are resilient, and already used to the typhoons, as though time has strengthened them to withstand any calamities,” OCD-Region V Reg. Dir. Yucot said.
According to Regional Director Arnel Garcia of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-Region V, the Bicolanos have an “Oragon” kind of attitude, which helps them withstand any calamities or crisis.
The DSWD has provided more than P53 million worth of assistance for families, individuals, and local government units affected by typhoons “Rolly” and “Ulysses.”
“Our slogan is to provide that kind of “Oragon service” all the time. We (Bicolanos) show this through the delivery of our services, which should be durable, strong, and sustainable at all times. Any crisis or calamities we face, we are united,” said DSWD-Region V Reg. Dir. Garcia.
“First is the COVID-19 pandemic. Then the three typhoons, which almost wiped out our agriculture so we have to start all over again. But this year, we can survive. We will survive.” said Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara.
Meanwhile, Senator Miguel Zubiri reached out to the Bicolanos and provided various kinds of support for Region V. He kept on pushing for the province to quickly recover from the aftermath of the typhoons.
“This is a time when we have to come together, rally together, all the government leaders in support of our brothers and sisters in Bicol,” said Sen. Zubiri.
“Individual LGUs won’t be able to do it on their own. But, together we can beat these calamities that are constantly plaguing our country and what’s important is that we remain united.” Sen. Zubiri added.
The succeeding episodes of the Laging Handa Dokyu series will feature the Ilocos Region’s tourism bubble, which is part of the recovery phase of the region, a day in the life of Presidential Communications Secretary Martin M. Andanar, and the story of our indigenous peoples amid the pandemic.
Catch “Oragon” today, November 29, 2020 at 9:30 PM on PTV-4 and IBC-13. It will also be livestreamed on the Presidential Communications Operations Office and the NTF COVID-19 Facebook pages, as well as other government-affiliated social media pages.
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