MANILA — Vice President Sara Duterte on Saturday said the government was "working nonstop" in response to the trail of destruction left by severe tropical storm Paeng.
Paeng unleashed flash floods and landslides that officials said left at least 45 people dead.
"The initial assessment of the extent of the devastation left by Paeng is already profoundly disheartening, and recovery is expected to be a heavy undertaking — but the Marcos administration’s priority now is to provide immediate assistance to affected families," Duterte said in a statement.
"Rest assured that government institutions and Local Government Units are working nonstop and leading emergency operations in response to the crisis brought on by Typhoon Paeng," she added.
Duterte said her "thoughts and prayers are with our fellow Filipinos who perished because of Typhoon Paeng and the thousands of families left homeless or displaced."
Paeng pounded Luzon with maximum winds of 95 kilometers an hour after making landfall on the sparsely populated Catanduanes island before dawn.
The destruction began well before, with heavy rain inundating mostly rural areas in Mindanao on Thursday, followed by deadly landslides and flooding on Friday.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr rebuked civil defense and local officials at a televised meeting Saturday over the high number of casualties in Mindanao.
"It will be important for us to look back and see why this happened. Why did we fail to evacuate them? Why do we have such a high casualty (figure)?" the president asked.
State weather bureau PAGASA said the eye of Nalgae passed just off Luzon's south coast at 2 p.m., with Metro Manila likely to be hit next.
— With a report from Agence France-Presse