Latest Stories

Search teams on bikes reach areas smashed by ‘Yolanda’


In this aerial image, damaged buildings and houses are seen Saturday Nov. 9, 2013 as powerful typhoon Haiyan hit Tacloban city, in Leyte province in central Philippines. AP

MANILA, Philippines – With many roads still blocked by fallen trees or debris, Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II on Monday said they used bicycles to reach isolated areas affected by monster typhoon “Yolanda.”

“Nagpapadala kami ng tao, nakabisikleta (We’ve been sending a person on bicycle)” who acts as a scout, he said in an interview with Radyo Inquirer 990AM.

Roxas said they tell the person to relay messages to the isolated communities and to gather information on their situation.

“Ngayon unti-unti pa lang pumapasok, bumabalik yung mga scout. At hindi maganda yung balita, lalong nakakalungkot. (Now the scouts are starting to return. And the news they bring is not good. It is saddening),” he said.

He said it has been very difficult for them to facilitate relief operations because of the lack of communication link. For the last three days, communication lines and electricity were down in typhoon-hit provinces of Samar and Leyte.

Earlier reports said Roxas and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin were incommunicado for several hours on Friday after “Yolanda” smashed Visayas and other parts of the country. A satellite phone had to be sent to them since even radio tranceivers were deemed useless.

Read: Zamboanga crisis veterans Roxas, Gazmin no match for ‘Yolanda’

On Monday, reports filtered in that cellular services were restored in the city. Some roads were also being cleared.

“There is no AM radio. We can’t even broadcast to tell the people to proceed to the barangay (village) hall for the distribution of relief goods,” added Roxas, who was earlier sent by President Benigno Aquino III to oversee disaster preparations in the region.

The Interior Secretary said their movements have been limited, even inside Tacloban City where he is currently stationed, because many of the roads were blocked.

Days after the calamity, relief goods had to be flown into the city proper because roads from and going to Tacloban airport were blocked. Palace officials said they have also been airdropping relief goods to areas not reachable by land.

With only a small portion of the affected areas surveyed, authorities and humanitarian aid groups fear the full extent of damage wrought by the typhoon on Eastern Visayas.

Roxas said that for now they are focusing on the basic needs of the survivors, followed by the restoration of order and the recovery of corpses.

The Secretary said the national government has stepped in because many of those in the local government units were also devastated by what is now considered among the world’s strongest typhoons.

“There are 293 policemen in Tacloban. (After the typhoon) only 20 reported. Others died, were wounded or are still looking for their relatives,” Roxas revealed.

He said government forces from other regions were sent to the area to help restore peace and order amid news of looting.

Roxas called on the public and concerned groups to forward their donations to the Department of Social Welfare and Development. He also urged engineers and medical personnel to volunteer. He, however, added that the typhoon-hit provinces are in dire need of medical supplies, as well as operators and equipment used for clearing operations.

Related stories


US relief flight heads for typhoon-hit Tacloban

Aquino hailed for rejecting calls to impose martial law in Yolanda-hit areas

After ‘Yolanda,’ 3 Mindanao provinces brace for brewing storm

Comelec to provide generators to power up areas smashed by ‘Yolanda’

‘Miracle’ baby born in Philippine typhoon rubble

After ‘Yolanda,’ 3 Mindanao provinces brace for brewing storm

Comelec to provide generators to power up areas smashed by ‘Yolanda’

Person finder now in INQUIRER.net’s Storm Radar on ‘Yolanda’

‘Yolanda’ destroys P138.6-M worth of crops — report

Netizens on Aquino walk-out: ‘Anyare?’

Spoelstra, Miami Heat send sympathies to Yolanda victims

10 deadliest natural disasters in the Philippines

‘Yolanda’ kills 300 in Samar – official

We need to stay alive’

Chaos, dead bodies on typhoon-ravaged streets of Tacloban City

10,000 feared dead in typhoon-hit Philippine province – police

151 killed by ‘Yolanda’; 4.5M people affected – NDRRMC

120 policemen deployed to prevent looting in Tacloban City

Daughter’s last words: ‘Ma, just let go… Save yourself’

Australia gives $10 million to typhoon-hit Philippines

Japan to fly medical team to Philippines

Philippines struggles to help desperate typhoon victims

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: bicycles , Haiyan , Manuel Roxas II , Nation , National security , News , Philippine disasters , Yolanda

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  2. Obama, family cause a small stir at Easter service
  3. Santiago sees Palace hand in Gigi’s return
  4. Gigi Reyes’ only option: tell all
  5. Malaysia Airlines jet turns back after tire burst
  6. ‘Malang’ next crocodile attraction after ‘Lolong’
  7. Ancient enigmatic carvings in danger of disappearing
  8. New plant to boost supply of clean energy
  9. Unease in Vatican over cardinal’s luxury flat—report
  10. In the know: Gigi Reyes
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  5. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  6. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  7. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  8. Massive infra spending set
  9. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  10. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  9. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  10. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia


  • After bombs, Boston Marathon under tight security
  • Port Area fire spares Red Cross warehouse
  • PNP may use ‘reasonable force’ against of Etihad Airlines passengers refusing medical test
  • Intrigues mar signing of Bangsamoro draft law
  • Singson apologizes for delay in Edsa road repairs
  • Sports

  • Reigning champs Miami open playoffs with win
  • Spurs subdue Mavericks in playoff opener
  • Wawrinka beats Federer to win Monte Carlo Masters
  • Ageless Hopkins pitches 50-50 Mayweather deal
  • Goodbye MGM, Las Vegas for Pacquiao?
  • Lifestyle

  • Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  • Transitions and resurrection in the performing arts
  • ‘Archaeology tour’ of Cebu’s heritage of faith
  • Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  • ‘Imports’ from London, and play of the year
  • Entertainment

  • Lindsay Lohan says she had a miscarriage
  • Discovery network cancels Everest jump
  • ‘Captain America’ stays strong atop US box office
  • Easter musings
  • Solenn in shorts
  • Business

  • Oil prices down in quiet Asian trade
  • Asian shares mixed in holiday-thinned trade
  • BDO seen keen on bidding for Cocobank
  • Bataan freeport investment pledges up 1,302%
  • Golden Week
  • Technology

  • PH has slowest internet in Southeast Asia
  • Nintendo’s trailblazing Game Boy marks 25th anniversary
  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Opinion

  • Gigi’s home
  • Palace stonewalls on MRT inquiry
  • Couple of things too
  • There is plenty of water behind Wawa Dam
  • Triduum thoughts of a young boy
  • Global Nation

  • Filipinos in Middle East urged not to panic amid MERS-CoV scare
  • Obama on mission to quiet Asia skeptics
  • Search for Etihad passengers launched
  • Japan presents $57-B ‘dream plan’ to solve Metro congestion
  • Tim Tebow’s charity hospital in Davao seen to open in 7 months
  • Marketplace