NAGA CITY, Cebu — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Friday, September 21, checked the conditions of the landslide victims at the Enan Chiong Activity Center, which serves as a shelter to more or less 400 families of Sitio Sindulan, Barangay Tinaan who fled their homes in the wake of the incident that happened on Thursday, September 20.
“I was saddened by what happened. The crisis that you are now going through is not easy. It is excruciating because many people were affected and many had died,” he said.
During his visit, the Chief Executive talked to the families whose relatives were either reported dead or missing.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Office of the President will provide a total of P45, 000 to each family whose kin died in the landslide, and P10, 000 to those who were injured.
Apart from the cash aid, the President also ordered the related government agencies to attend to the needs of the victims—from food to medical and burial support.
The President then asked the local government to provide the evacuees a proper relocation as they can no longer head back to their previous homes because of the location’s potential danger to their lives.
“So now I asked [the] mayor, ‘What is your solution? You are the one who hails from here. You’re the mayor.’ She said, ‘Mayor, we really need to transfer.’ ‘O sige, is there land that we can buy…that you can transfer to?’ She said that there is a vacant lot there owned by the provincial government. So that made me really happy because…government,” the President told the evacuees.
“Mayor said that the governor is ready to help and said it’s okay for you to transfer there. So now it has spread. What will we do with that piece of land? Just sit on the ground? So, we need houses,” he added.
President Duterte cited that he will assign National Housing Authority (NHA) General Manager Marcelino Escalada Jr. and Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) Chairperson Eduardo Del Rosario to administer the construction of houses for the landslide victims.
“So, now that I told you about the relocation, I will also send the NHA here. I will look for funding,” President Duterte noted.
The Chief Executive also mentioned the dangers of mining to the environment and the people’s lives.
Recently, a landslide incident happened in Itogon, Benguet after the onslaught of Typhoon ‘Ompong.’ Several days later, the landslide in Naga occurred due to heavy monsoon rain.
The landslide incidents may be weather-related, but, in truth, these are the effects of mining on the environment.
According to the local DSWD, 32 are confirmed dead and nearly 50 still missing. The numbers are not yet final as the rescue and retrieval operations continue in the area.
Accompanying the President during the visit were Secretary Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go of the Office of the Special Assistant to the President, Presidential Assistant for Visayas Secretary Michael Dino, Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu, Department of Social Welfare and Development Acting Secretary Virginia Orogo, Department of Interior and Local Government Officer-in-Charge Eduardo Año, Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III, and Naga City Mayor Kristine Chiong. ###PND