Marcos orders immediate aid for flood-hit Visayas, quake-stricken Mindanao | Inquirer News

Marcos orders immediate aid for flood-hit Visayas, quake-stricken Mindanao

President: Mindanao rehab efforts can't start if aftershocks still happen

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. holds a situation briefing in General Santos City following a strong quake in Sarangani. Screengrab from Bongbong Marcos Instagram story

TACLOBAN CITY—President Marcos on Thursday visited Tacloban City and General Santos City to check on the conditions of victims of floods in the Samar provinces and of last week’s strong earthquake in southern Mindanao.

The President was initially set to visit Catarman, Northern Samar, in the morning but poor weather prevented him from proceeding to the area, prompting him to conduct a situational briefing with Samar officials via Zoom in Tacloban City instead.


In the briefing,Marcos instructed government relief workers to also attend to the needs of victims who chose to stay in their homes and not just those in evacuation centers.


“We are doing everything that we can. But let’s work with those who are in the evacuation centers, even those still in their homes. We have to go and make sure that they get the food packs; they get sufficient water supply,” the President said.

He also ordered the Department of Public Works and Highways to make all roads passable to hasten the distribution of food packs and relief goods to affected families, especially in the Samar provinces.

The President also asked the Department of Agriculture to provide the necessary assistance to affected farmers, including seedlings and agricultural products.

The combined effects of the low pressure area and shear line affecting Eastern Visayas since Nov. 14 have caused severe floods and landslides that affected more than 453,000 people or around 114,200 families in 534 barangays, mostly in Northern Samar.

Housing assistance

Social Welfare Secretary Rex Gatchalian, who was with the President, said the agency had already prepared over 100,000 food packs for distribution to flood victims in the provinces of Eastern Samar and Northern Samar.

Gatchalian added that the list of the affected families and individuals, whose houses were either destroyed or damaged, was also being finalized. This will be the basis of the financial assistance they will receive from the government to start rebuilding their houses.


Also with Marcos during the visit were Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro, who chairs the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council; Public Works Secretary Manual Bonoan; and Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos.

Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez, the President’s cousin, said Mr. Marcos assured Northern Samar officials of the government’s continued support.

“Tuloy-tuloy lang assistance (sa Northern Samar). The focus now is relief operations with the President giving his full support for the effort,” said Romualdez, chair of the Regional Peace and Order Council in Eastern Visayas.


In General Santos City, Marcos said the government had already prepared all the necessary assistance and relief operations for earthquake victims, except the rebuilding of their houses as the region continued to experience aftershocks.

“The rebuilding we can’t begin yet because there are still aftershocks. That’s the problem with earthquakes—there’s no forecast; we don’t know what will happen [next],” he said.

The President assured earthquake victims that the government would take care of them, saying: “Until the end, we will look into your needs. We will prioritize [you] in the recovery [efforts].”

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A magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck a large part of Mindanao on Friday last week, leaving at least nine people dead and 30 injured. More than 4,600 houses were either destroyed or damaged in 113 barangays in the provinces of Sarangani, Davao Occidental, Davao Oriental and South Cotabato.

TAGS: aid, Bongbong Marcos Jr., Earthquake, Flood, Mindanao, Visayas

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