Aquino: Restore power in Mindoro
PINAMALAYAN, Oriental Mindoro—President Aquino directed all concerned agencies to restore electricity in typhoon-devastated Oriental Mindoro by the end of the year and ensure that classrooms in damaged public school buildings repaired in time for the resumption of classes in January 2016.
The President made these pronouncements during a short visit here Wednesday as he expressed sympathy for the thousands of residents here who lost homes and properties to Typhoon “Nona” that hit the province on Dec. 15.
About 100,000 pieces of galvanized iron sheets would be given to families who lost their houses to the typhoon, according to the President.
The President, coming in from Northern Samar, which was also badly hit by Nona, arrived past 3 p.m. Wednesday and proceeded to the town’s gymnasium to meet with local officials and residents.
Amid the loud whirl of the generator that provided power for the sound system at the gym, Oriental Mindoro Gov. Alfonso Umali Jr. told the President that the province suffered billions of pesos in damage to agriculture and infrastructure.
He said the province lost at least P3 billion worth in agriculture (rice, high value crops, corn, coconut, livestock, fisheries); P1.5 billion in infrastructure; P295,798,760 in roads and bridges; P5.3 billion in flood control projects; and 679,120,222 in public buildings.
Pinamalayan was the hardest-hit town of Oriental Mindoro where Nona made its fifth landfall with maximum sustained winds of 150 kilometers per hour and gustiness of up to 185 kph at its peak.
After the briefing, the President distributed relief packs to some of the affected residents.
The President was accompanied by Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman, Health Secretary Janette Garin, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Interior Secretary Senen Mel Sarmiento.
Call for substantial aid
The President’s visit was preceded by a call from Fr. Erwin Gariguez, secretary general of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-National Secretariat for Social Action Center (CBCP-Nassa) for substantial and not merely ceremonial aid to the province.
Gariguez joined the Church-led team that came here and evaluated the needs of families affected by Nona.
According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), Nona left at least 17 dead, 20 injured and with still unvalidated reports of fatalities. At least 180,889 Filipino families were affected.
It said the damage to infrastructure and agriculture in Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan, Albay, Sorsogon, Masbate, Catanduanes, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte), Calabarzon and the three Samar provinces reached nearly P1 billion.
President Aquino declared a state of national calamity in the wake of the typhoon.
But in Oriental Mindoro, the Regional Disaster Risk Management Council of Mimaropa and the Provincial Disaster Risk Management Council placed the losses to agriculture as of Tuesday at P2.2 billion, higher than the total figure from NDRRMC.
The two DRMMCs also reported that the typhoon affected 423,400 individuals, with 324,986 of them totally displaced.
At least 27,854 houses were totally damaged and 36,481 partially damaged.
Thirteen casualties were reported. But the number could still rise as there had been difficulties in getting data because of a huge number of felled trees and electric posts making the roads difficult to pass through.
Umali said typhoon Nona was the hardest to hit the province in two decades.
“We need to mobilize all the help that we can get, from the government and from international humanitarian community,” Gariguez.
The Apostolic Vicariate of Calapan, through the Diocesan Service Commission, has launched the Hapag Awa at Kalinga, raising funds and other forms of assistance, where Nassa has initially donated P500,000.
Nassa, along with Caritas Philippines and Caritas Manila, have been providing relief packs and financial assistance to the worst-hit dioceses/apostolic vicariates: Catarman, Sorsogon, Romblon and San Jose.
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