PNoy declares state of national calamity

by Jojo Malig, ABS-CBNNews.com

Posted at Nov 11 2013 07:43 PM | Updated as of Nov 12 2013 04:55 AM

 

MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - President Benigno Aquino on Monday night declared a state of national calamity in the country following the massive devastation caused by typhoon Yolanda.

 

The declaration will allow the national government to fast-track delivery of aid and basic services, particularly in typhoon-hit areas in the Visayas.

"Idinedeklara po natin ang state of national calamity upang mapabilis ang mga pagkilos ng pamahalaan para sa pagsagip, paghahatid ng tulong, at rehabilitasyon ng mga probinsyang sinalanta ni Yolanda," Aquino said in a televised address.

"Mahalaga rin ito, hindi lamang para panatilihing kontrolado ang mga presyo ng mga pangunahing produkto at serbisyo na kakailanganin ng ating mga kakabayan, kundi upang maiwasan din ang overpricing at hoarding ng mga mahahalagang bilihin," he added.

The President said the typhoon leveled many communities despite preparations made by local officials.

"Talagang malaki ang pinsalang nasaksihan natin. Sa mga darating na araw, lalo pang papaspas ang ayuda," he said.

Aquino said the casualty count is low in some areas such as Oriental and Occidental Mindoro, Negros Occidental, Palawan, Aklan, and Romblon because local governments prepared well for the typhoon threat.

He credited government agencies such as PAGASA, the Environment department's Mines and Geosciences Bureau, Phivolcs, and DOST for issuing accurate information and warnings about the typhoon.

However, Aquino said the typhoon still hammered Leyte and Samar, which were hit by storm surges.

"Bagaman nakapagtala ng mababang casualty count sa maraming mga probinsyang dinaanan ni Yolanda, sa mga lugar naman na tila naembudo ang bagyong ito, talaga naman pong malaki ang pinsalang nasaksihan natin. Tulad ninyo, gusto ko ring malaman kung paanong maiibsan ang situwasyon sa mga lugar na tulad nito," he said.

Aquino said he personally saw the damage in Samar and Leyte.

"Dito nakakatutok ang ating pagbibigay-lingap," he said, adding that organizing and implementing relief efforts are not easy.

"Kailangan natin malaman ang kakulangan ng bawat lugar. Nahihirapan tayong makuha ang datos na ito," he said.

"Humihingi rin po tayo ng pang-unawa sa lahat. Sa paghahagupit ni Yolanda, nawalan ng kuryente at komunikasyon sa maraming lugar. Apektado po nito, hindi lamang ang pakikipag-ugnayan ng mga nais makasigurong ligtas ang kanilang mga kaanak, kundi pati na rin ang koordinasyon ng ating relief efforts," the President said.

He added that some local governments were also overwhelmed by the typhoon.

"Inuna natin ang pagdala ng pagkain, tubig, gamot. Inaayos na natin ang mekanismo para mapalawak ang saklaw ng housing," the President said.

He said relief goods are being sent to where they are needed.

Around P18.7 billion in government funds can be used to help victims and rebuild communities, Aquino said.

"Inaprubahan din natin ang kabuuang P1.1 billion para pandagdag sa Quick Response Funds ng DSWD at DPWH, para sa agarang pagpapatupad ng mga kinakailangang suporta para sa muling pagbangon ng mga kababayan nating hinagupit nitong trahedya," he said.

He added that 22 countries, as well as foreign aid organizations and the private sector, are helping in the relief efforts.

Around 800 police officers are being deployed to typhoon hit areas, while 3 centers are repacking around 55,000 food packs a day for delivery to victims, Aquino said.

Around 24,000 family food packs have also been distributed in Tacloban Sunday. "Nakasentro ang pagpapamigay sa walong pinakamalaking barangay doon," the President said.

"Mayroon tayong dalawang water purification facilities, at marami pa ang darating, upang masigurong may maiinom ang ating mga kababayan. Inaayos na natin ang mekanismo para mapalawak ang saklaw ng social housing program ng pamahalaan," he said.

The President also called for calm and cooperation in aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda.

"Sa mga darating na araw, maaasahan ninyo, lalo pang papaspas ang ayuda. Ang panawagan ko lang po: Ang pagiging kalmado, pagdarasal, pakikisama, at pakikipagtulungan. Siya ang magpapabangon sa atin mula sa sakunang ito," he said.

Presidential Proclamation 682

Aquino's declaration is contained in Presidential Proclamation 682.

The proclamation's legal basis is Republic Act 10121, or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management act of 2010. It was made upon the recommendation of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

The state of national calamity will remain in force until lifted by the President.

It also directs law enforcement agencies, with support from the Armed Forces, to undertake all necessary measures to ensure peace and order.

Separately, Memorandum Circular 56 issued by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa directs all department secretaries and heads of agencies bureaus or offices of the government in the localities affected by the calamity to ensure the delivery of basic services and assistance.

The President's declaration is separate from the declaration of states of calamity by the different local government units which they are also empowered to do.

It is also separate from the declaration of a state of emergency at the local level that may be declared by the local governments based on the Local Government Code. - with a report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News