Aquino: Cooperation resulted in fewer ‘Ruby’ deaths
BORONGAN CITY, Philippines—President Benigno Aquino III lauded the people of this city and nearby Dolores town, both in Eastern Samar, for their cooperation after the province was hit by Typhoon “Ruby,” which resulted in reduced casualties and damage to property compared to Supertyphoon “Yolanda.”
Eastern Samar sustained damage of more than P2.4 billion in agriculture (P1.69 billion) and infrastructure (P754.91 million), with eight confirmed deaths, four in this city.
About 114,553 families or 487,355 individuals were affected by Ruby, which destroyed 17,946 houses and partially damaged 61,912 others.
“Although Ruby was the strongest typhoon to enter the country this year, the damage it inflicted in the Visayas was not as grave as that of Yolanda. I laud the strength and stability you have demonstrated after the disaster, which is proof that no matter how powerful the storm and no matter how great the damage, the important thing is we are together and we can draw strength from each other,” the President said in Filipino in a speech at the provincial gymnasium.
Mr. Aquino said the initiatives conducted by the local governments on preemptive evacuation were largely responsible for the readiness of the people and the less than crippling impact of Ruby on the province, considering the strength of the typhoon.
The President also announced a cash-for-work fund as part of the rehabilitation assistance of the national government to the affected areas in the province, particularly Borongan and Dolores.
In Borongan, P68.08 million was handed over to Mayor Ma. Fe Abunda for the employment of 17,457 people—who are to receive P250 a day for 15 days—for the clearing of debris and the cleaning of public buildings like barangay halls.
In Dolores, 72 kilometers from Borongan, P45.91 million was given to Mayor Emiliana Villacarillo for the hiring of 11,772 people for a 15-day employment.
Mr. Aquino was joined by Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman, Defense Secretary and National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council chair Voltaire Gazmin and Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla.
He was met by provincial officials led by Gov. Conrado Nicart Jr., Rep. Ben Evardone and the mayors of other towns.
“At least he came to see for himself what really happened to our place and not just relied on feedback,” Abunda said.
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