Duterte visits 'Auring'-hit Surigao del Sur, orders gov't agencies to give help

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 24 2021 12:46 AM

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte ordered various national government agencies to extend assistance to the CARAGA region, the area most hit by tropical storm “Auring”, during his briefing on Tuesday in Tandag City, Surigao del Sur.

Duterte, who conducted an aerial inspection of the typhoon’s aftermath, directed various cabinet secretaries to complete their respective damage and needs assessments, and address concerns within a week.

“Pagkain, shelter - ma-plastic man o ano - and tubig, yan importante, importante talaga yang tubig… all of you, all departments, if you cannot come back here, at least send a representative who can work or who will work… you have one week to do it, all of you.

“I am a very impatient man, not because by design, but kakaunti na lang kasi panahon na pagkapresidente ko; gusto kong dapat gawin, gawin na kaagad,” he said during the briefing attended by the cabinet and local chief executives. 

“Auring” was first detected as a low pressure area (LPA) on February 17, intensifying to a tropical depression as it approached the Philippine land mass with gustiness of up to 80 kilometers per hour.

According to the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), the typhoon left a 6- year-old boy dead due to drowning in Surigao del Sur and injured 2. 

Four persons remain missing, including 3 fishermen who ventured out to sea.

Twenty-nine thousand families or 112,734 individuals were affected; 240 houses were damaged; 12 roads and 1 bridge in 5 regions were also affected; and 42 domestic flights cancelled, as well as sea trips, leaving 3,120 passengers stranded. 

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said 3,500 family food packs were distributed in the province, and current food packs for distribution at the local office now total 8,000, with 7,000 more expected to arrive in CARAGA on Wednesday.

Over 3,600 families will be extended cash assistance of P3,000 each, while P30,000 will be given to those whose houses were “totally damaged” by the typhoon. 

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said his department allocated “P230 million worth of agricultural interventions” for the province of Surigao del Sur, while Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez committed to extend loans or “outright livelihood support” funding to 1,000 affected small enterprises.

“Puhunan po ito, yung mga gamit na pwede nang paninda, so ibibigay ho natin,” Lopez said.

Coastal municipalities affected by “Auring” will be given 30 motorized fiberglass bancas each, courtesy of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

“I was informed by the governor (Alexander Pimentel, Surigao del Sur) that out of 19 municipalities, 18 are coastal towns so we’re giving them 30 motorized fiberglass bancas,” Bello said.

DOLE also appropriated funding for the emergency employment of 250 workers for 10 days, at minimum wage, to areas stricken by “Auring”. 

CLEARING OF BARANGAY ROADS 

Pimentel said the clearing of several impassable barangay roads is a priority, and asked Duterte to allow the DPWH to lend heavy equipment to his province.

The chief executive instructed the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to instead allocate funds for the purchase of heavy equipment, as Duterte stressed accessible barangay roads will support his administration’s counter-insurgency campaign.

“Let me address this to the military, alam mo, yung mga buang na yan na NPA, they are collecting taxes everywhere and anywhere, kaya may pera, may pera talaga yan.

“Kailangan talaga i-repair yan (barangay roads) because and insurgency, dito ako magtutok… itong mga NPA, kinukuha nila mga anak, dinadala nila sa ibang lugar. Kunin ninyo mga bata at isauli ninyo sa nanay at tatay because a child or minor should not be separated from the family home,” Duterte said.

He added, “I assume full responsibility… hulihin n’yo; ‘pag nagdemanda, sabihin n’yo, ‘huwag kami i-demanda, i-demanda n’yo si Duterte’.”

Duterte also instructed Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade to night-rate or at the very least, install appropriate night lighting at the Tandag airport, due to its visibility issues. 

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