Duterte orders gov’t officials to ‘bring back normalcy’ to typhoon-hit areas
President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday ordered government officials to strive to “return to normalcy as soon as possible” the areas ravaged by Typhoon “Rosita.”
Duterte visited Isabela two days after the typhoon hit the province and other parts of northern Luzon.
Despite the report from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) that at least 15 people died, the President said he was “satisfied” with government’s response to the disaster in Isabela.
“I am satisfied with the response of government; everybody’s here. And I think everyone is doing their duty. I’d like to thank you for that,” he said in a post-disaster command conference in Isabela.
“Verily, the rule for crisis management, the number one rule is you have to return to normalcy as soon as possible,” he added.
Before his briefing, Duterte conducted an aerial inspection over the typhoon-hit areas.
“From the looks, the damage has been very extensive,” he said.
He admitted that he was worried about the persons buried after the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Building in Natonin, Mountain Province collapsed due to a landslide.
“There’s a lot to do there, plus the missing persons, which is worrying us now. How many are still inside that DPWH [building]?” he asked officials present during the briefing.
But despite this situation, he said “the mitigating measure has been impressive.”
“I think we have reached the standard of response needed for this particular incident. I said the most important thing really is a return to normalcy. That would mean clearing of the roads,” he said.
He ordered the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to ensure that the typhoon victims, whom he described as “bewildered and disoriented,” have enough food and water.
“The most important thing right now is water and food,” he said, citing his experience as a former mayor in Davao City for more than 22 years.
He also ordered the Department of Health (DOH) to deploy health personnel to the affected areas.
“The first thing is for the health services to go there. Treat the wounded [and those] seriously suffering from injuries; these should be [done] right away,” he said.
Military helicopters would transport typhoon victims who need to get needed medical attention.
He also ordered Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III and Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol to provide assistance to the typhoon victims.
The immediate repair of damage fish cottage, he said, “should be the worry” of Piñol.
He ordered Bello to find something “productive” for the affected residents whose livelihood were damaged by the typhoon.
“You might want, in the meantime, to find something productive for them, so they can be extended the usual money to keep on going until such time they can stand up on their own,” he said.
The President added that he would also order Education Secretary Leonor Briones to asses the extent of damage to classrooms. /ee
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