Duterte satisfied with gov’t response to Leyte quake

ORMOC CITY — President Rodrigo Duterte visited Ormoc City on Thursday, July 13, to personally assess the government’s efforts in Leyte following a 6.5-magnitude earthquake that devastated the province last July 6.

The President said he was glad that the response of the national government was immediate, as he cited the importance of restoring power in affected areas.

Duterte headed the situational briefing in Ormoc City Airport with members of his Cabinet and local officials.

In addressing power outages, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said that power restoration has been ongoing and by July 16, 40 megawatts will be dispatched to Leyte.

He added that by July 19, an additional 90 MW will be supplied to the province and by July 31, power will be fully restored.

Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar also reported to the President, saying that roads and bridges are all passable. He said there is an estimated PHP69 million in damages to 40 school buildings. For local roads and foot bridges, the damage is PHP61 million, and for two hospitals, PHP20 million, and for two municipal buildings PHP2.9 million.

School buildings are mostly repairable except for four buildings that were donated by an NGO, he said.

Villar pegged the allocation for repairs of public structures at PHP150 million, and for all structures about PHP300 million.

Villar said the DPWH is preparing the program of works that will be done at the soonest possible time.

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Judy Taguiwalo also reported to the President that DSWD provided family food packs and hygiene kits to internally displaced persons (IDPs), while the management of evacuation centers is being done by the local government units.

She said DSWD is augmenting the effort of the LGUs in terms of assistance to the affected families.

The DSWD chief meanwhile said that to those who died, the DSWD provided a cash assistance of PHP5,000 each as well as burial assistance. Medical assistance was also provided to those who have been injured.

She said that currently, the DSWD is looking at transition houses and the emergency shelter assistance, citing coordination with the local government units is needed to validate how many are actually in need of emergency shelter assistance and how many need to be relocated because their localities are already in the “No-Build Zone” or the danger zone.

In area of trade, commerce and supply of basic goods, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez said that after the quake, the DTI dispatched a price monitoring team.

He said prices of basic goods remain stable because there is no disruption in the supply chain. Roads going to Ormoc City are passable and there is no effect on the supply and prices.

But with the declaration of the state of calamity, Lopez said a price freeze must be implemented by the government to prevent unscrupulous traders from jacking up prices.

Also, Lopez said some businesses affected by the quake need financing to revive their businesses, noting that they will work on a financing scheme to help the business sector.

One of the concerns is power supply and this impact most on cold storages. Lopez said it is good news that the DOE was able to address the energy issue.

With all these efforts to help the areas affected by the temblor, President Duterte expressed his satisfaction to the actions undertaken by the government, noting that it is a functioning government where the people’s money is protected and that everything is put to good use.

Among the local officials present during the situational briefing were Leyte Gov. Leopoldo Dominico L. Petilla, Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez, Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez (4th Dist. Leyte) and Kananga Mayor Rowena Codilla. PND-northboundasia.com