13 February 2017

Duterte pledges aid for Surigao quake victims
SURIGAO CITY — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Sunday, February 12, visited Surigao del Norte following Friday’s 6.7 magnitude tremor that left at least six people dead and over 100 injured.

President Duterte flew to the province to personally oversee the relief and rehabilitation efforts being done by the government.

“I will release money for you, so prioritize those who lost their lives and source of living,” he said.

Aside from livelihood programs, the Chief Executive also suggested to provide housing to earthquake victims.

About 230 families were affected by the strong quake, based on data from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMC).

It also indicated that estimated cost of damages in infrastructure has reached P601.8 million.

Surigao City, the hardest hit area, had been placed under a state of calamity.

Rehabilitation funding for Surigao City is pegged at P69.8 million, which includes restoration of national roads and bridges, repair of irrigation canals and water system, rehabilitation of public buildings, burial assistance, rice/food packs, and medicines.

In the same speech, President Duterte likewise underscored the significance of attaining national peace when it comes to environmental preservation.

“Let’s achieve peace. All mountains that are full of conflict are useless. If you cut trees, make sure you have something to replace it with, or else the soil will erode,” he said.

He also expressed his inclination to shut down mining firms in Surigao as recommended by Environment Secretary Regina Lopez.

“So I think they will never be able to restore nature to what it was before. So I think I really will shut them all down,” he said.

He, meanwhile, vowed to provide alternative livelihood to those who will be affected by the possible closure of mining companies.

The President was accompanied by some of his Cabinet men including Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, Education Secretary Leonor Briones, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi and Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar. ###PND

Palace asks for clean drinking water for quake-hit Surigao
Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar on Sunday appealed for clean and potable drinking water for the residents of Surigao del Norte.

Surigao, where the Secretary hails, was hit by 6.7 magnitude earthquake last Friday killing at least six people and causing massive damage to infrastructures.

“Mahalaga po dito ang tubig sa Surigao ‘yung potable water, iyon po ang mahalaga dito ngayon,” Andanar said in an interview on government-run Radyo ng Bayan.

He said non-government organizations and private individuals who wanted to send aid could coordinate with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) or with other government agencies under PCOO such as PTV-4 and Radyo ng Bayan.

Andanar said all concerned agencies such as DSWD, Department of Health, military and the police are working together to help the victims of the earthquake.

He noted that the recent earthquake was the strongest to hit his hometown since 1800.

He said while assistance continues to pour in, the government has to focus on relief and rehabilitation efforts to help the province gets back on its feet.

He added that there is still no electricity in some areas in Surigao and the airport is still closed due to damage on its runway.

“Kailangan sa mga panahong ito ay lahat tayo ay mag-sama-sama para tulungan ang ating mga kababayan,” he said.###PND

From Communications Secretary Martin Andanar on the NPA’s decision to declare a unilateral ceasefire in earthquake-affected areas
We are glad that the NPA heeded the call of the military for a ceasefire in earthquake-affected areas. We welcome their declaration and hope they do not renege on it as they have previously done.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is presently conducting damage assessment and rescue, evacuation and rehabilitation activities. These should be continuous and remain unhampered so we can deliver immediate aid to the victims of this natural calamity.

The Government and its forces lean forward to provide the fastest and most expeditious assistance our suffering citizens in Surigao need at this time and distractions from criminal activities by armed groups would not be in their best interest.

Sa panahong ito kailangan magkaisa ang sambayanang Pilipino!

From Presidential Spokesperson Ernie Abella on the distribution of relief goods in Surigao

The earthquake occurred Friday (February 10) evening and the local government unit of Surigao City, the first responder during disasters, declared a state of calamity on Saturday, February 11.

The DSWD Regional Director team arrived on Saturday to assess the damage and check the affected families.

The relief goods were delivered Sunday from Butuan. Distribution was initially hampered by an inadequate distribution system.  The victims were already expecting the relief goods as early as 5 a.m., but the local government made a judgment call to wait for the President who arrived by 1 p.m.

Food packs were finally distributed around 2 p.m. after PRRD made the initial distribution.  Three thousand (3,000) family food packs were then successfully shared after DSWD Caraga officials, local government, barangay officials and Surigao City Mayor worked out a more efficient distribution system. 

Additional relief goods are welcome, especially drinking water, and may be received by the DSWD and LGUs in Surigao.