MANILA (UPDATE) - President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said he wants government officials to work on making the areas hardest hit by typhoon Rosita “return to normalcy as soon as possible.”
Duterte was in Cauayan, Isabela to attend a briefing on the effects of the typhoon to the Northern Luzon region.
The President said he was satisfied with the government’s preparation and response to the typhoon. He said a return to normalcy would mean clearing of the roads and addressing the urgent needs of those affected by the typhoon, such as proper food, clean water, and shelter.
"I am satisfied with the response of government, everybody’s here. And I think that everyone is doing his duty. I’d like to thank you for you that. Verily, the rule in crisis management or whatever... is you have to return to normalcy as soon as possible," Duterte told officials.
Duterte conducted an aerial inspection over areas hit by the typhoon and he said the damage was extensive.
The President also worried about those believe to be trapped inside a collapsed building of the Department of Public Works and Highways in Mountain Province.
"And there’s a lot to do there plus the missing persons which are worrying us now. How how many are still inside that DPWH?" he asked.
Rosita has left at least 15 people dead after its onslaught in the country's northern provinces, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said Thursday.
NDRRMC data showed 6 of the fatalities were from the landslide in Natonin, Mountain Province; 6 from landslides in Banaue, Ifugao; 2 from landslides in Tinglayan, and 1 who drowned in Abra.
The number of fatalities may still rise as reports of missing individuals are still coming in, said NDRRMC Executive Director Ricardo Jalad.
Local officials have earlier reported recovering 8 bodies from the Department of Public Works and Highways building in Natonin, which was buried with mud during Rosita's onslaught.
As the rest of the country observes All Saints’ Day on Thursday, rescuers race to save dozens of people believed to be trapped underneath the pile of earth and rubble in Natonin.
Bringing heavy rains and strong winds, Rosita made landfall in Isabela last Tuesday, barreled through farmlands and mountains in the agricultural north, before leaving exiting the next day.