Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr. visited Catanduanes today, November 5, to personally assess the situation on the ground and connect local government officials with national government officials on response efforts in the aftermath of supertyphoon Rolly.
“Sa mga taga-Catanduanes, unang-una hindi po kayo pababayan, hindi kayo kalilimutan ng ating Presidente. Narito po tayo ngayon sa ground zero para ipakita ang suporta ng Presidente sa lahat ng mga naging biktima ng super typhoon Rolly,” said Secretary Roue during the press briefing held at the Catanduanes Provincial Capitol.
The Palace official also assured the people of Catanduanes of support from the national government. “Lahat po ng mga pangangailangan ninyo sisikapin natin na dalhin dito by air, by land, by sea. At huwag po kayong mag-atubili dahil ang Presidente po walang pulitika yan, lahat po ng mga nangangailangan bibigyan ng tulong,” assured Secretary Roque.
Part of this assistance from the national government are 60 tons of relief goods and supplies including bottled drinking water that were carried by the Philippine Coast Guard’s BRP Gabriela Silang. These relief items will be distributed to the severely affected families in Virac, Catanduanes.
For farmers who were affected by the supertyphoon, the Department of Agriculture (DA), through the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC), has allotted P592, 432, 000 as indemnification fund for 32,761 farmers in the Bicol region whose insured crops were damaged by super typhoon Rolly. According to the DA, PCIC-insured farmers and fishers in the Bicol region will receive insurance claims ranging from P10, 000 to P15,000 for their crops, farm equipment, fishing boats and gears damaged by the typhoon.
To help affected families with their housing needs, PAGIBIG Fund has a calamity loan program where all eligible members can make a loan up to 80 percent of their total PAGIBIG Regular Savings.
According to PAGIBIG, the calamity loan can be availed within 90 days from the declaration of a state of calamity by an affected area. It can be payable within 24 months wherein the first payment is deferred and initial payment can be made on the third month after the release of the loan.
Meanwhile, to help facilitate the distribution of relief goods and the arrival of government personnel to provide services, as well as aid organizations that will conduct relief operations, clearing of roads need to be done immediately.
“Nung isang araw, noong last press briefing natin, ako po yung naghanap kay Secretary [Silvestre] Bello [III] at nangako po si Secretary Bello ng pondo para sa 5,000 TUPAD, yung cash for work, para nga po malinis ang mga daan ng makarating po sa mga liblib na lugar ang relief goods,” said Sec. Roque.
Catanduanes Governor Joseph Cua reported that typhoon Rolly affected 35, 222 families or 142, 478 individuals in the province. There were 7, 814 displaced individuals in evacuation centers and some 45, 886 in private houses. Governor Cua said that although 6 persons died and 1 is still missing due to typhoon Rolly, he is thankful that preemptive evacuations minimized the number of would-be casualties.
With all the damages and needs of affected areas, Department of Budget and Management Secretary Wendel Avisado assured local government units (LGUs) that they can access some government agencies’ quick response funds. However, Sec. Avisado said that these quick response funds cannot be released directly to LGUs and that the direct requests should come from the Office of the Civil Defense.
Meanwhile, Department of Energy (DOE) Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella said that the restoration of power in Virac and other severely damaged areas in the province will take one to two weeks, and that 100 percent restoration of power in Catanduanes is targeted to be completed before Christmas. Usec. Fuentebella said that the DOE is now prioritizing the purchase of supplies to be used by linemen in the restoration of electricity. ### OPS-PCOO