Luzon placed under state of calamity

Marje Pelayo   •   November 18, 2020   •   1129

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the recommendation to place the entire Luzon region under state of calamity following the onslaught of consecutive typhoons.

The President announced on Tuesday evening (November 17) during his weekly public address that he signed the proclamation in response to the recommendation by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

Based on NDRRMC’s latest report, Typhoon Ulysses caused P2.715-B worth of damage to agriculture and P5.25-B worth of damage to infrastructure.

This is on top of the total amount of damages left by previous cyclones Quinta and Rolly.

Under state of calamity, the national government and the local government units (LGUs) are given authority to use their respective funds to address the needs brought about by the calamity.

Meanwhile, the president stressed his intention to construct sturdy evacuation centers in the country following the devastation of evacuation centers from the recent cyclones.

He asked Congress to fund the construction of such structures as they serve as temporary shelter to victims of calamities and disasters.

“Iyon sana ang tugunan ng Congress kasi kapag ganitong deluge, [That’s something Congress must address because in times of a deluge] they tend to go to places for shelter and relief,” Duterte said.

“We build a strong structure, stronger than a typhoon that would come their way for people to stay. Maybe small rooms with many comfort rooms where people can really stay for a while,” he added.

To date, the NDRRMC reported a total of 73 individuals perished from Typhoon Ulysses in addition to only 25 from Super Typhoon Rolly — the strongest cyclone that hit the country this year. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Funds for Odette-hit areas to be released to LGUs on Dec. 29 — Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   December 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The fund for the cash assistance for families displaced by Typhoon Odette will be downloaded to local government units (LGU) by Wednesday, December 29, Malacañang said.

Acting Presidential spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is still looking for a fund source but they promised to release it to LGUs on Wednesday.

“Yung sourcing po niyan, yan po ang hinahanapan ngayon ng DBM. But ang promise po is that by tomorrow ma-download na po ang funds. So within the day, importante na ma-identify na po yung mga families na mabibigyan ng cash assistance – these are the most affected families,” Nograles said.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier announced that the government will be providing P5,000 assistance per family who were severely affected by the calamity.

“May pera naman. I am giving P5,000 per family. Itong pera na nakuha ko, which I have gathered, will be sufficient for the assistance of P5,000 for everybody,” the president said during his weekly Talk to the People aired on Monday night.

Nograles said the distribution of the cash aid will be monitored by the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

According to Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, a system is already in place in terms of the distribution of cash assistance for the typhoon victims.

More than 1 million families were affected by the onslaught of Odette in 11 regions. The number of reported fatalities rose to 397 with 83 missing and 1,147 injured, according to the latest data from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Duterte calls on Congress to amend provision on disaster management law in declaring state of calamity

Maris Federez   •   December 28, 2021

MANILA. Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has called on Congress and even future leaders to amend the provision in the current disaster management law with regard to the declaration of a state of calamity.

Republic Act No. 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 (DRRM Act) is a law that transforms the Philippines’ disaster management system from disaster relief and response towards disaster risk reduction (DRR).   It was approved on May 27, 2010.

The President made the appeal amid criticisms on the seeming delay in declaring a state of calamity in areas severely affected by Typhoon Odette.

Duterte said that he first had to await damage assessment from concerned government agencies and local government units which the law requires before making such a declaration.

“Bago ako makagalaw, and that is really so many provisions in the law that would hinder the government to just act immediately because there has to be… before a declaration there has to be an evaluation and assessment of damage before you can declare a state of calamity. These are stupid laws passed by Congress. Sila man ang final word diyan. Whether it should be or should be not,” Duterte said.

He called on Congress to amend the provision pertaining to declaring a state of calamity so that appropriate funds will be immediately released for typhoon-hit areas.

“That law should be changed, and it behooves upon this Congress if they want to, or the next president, may I advise, to try to repeal the law. So that government, there is already a warning hindi na kailangan ng assessment,” he said.

By declaring a state of calamity, concerned agencies will be able to release and use calamity funds and implement a price freeze on basic commodities.

Meanwhile, the President warned individuals or entities that will take advantage of the victims of the typhoon.

“Kung totoo, I am just giving you the warning, ‘pag nahuli kayo ng DTI or nahuli kayo ng pulis, we will ask them to arrest the hoarders and people who are taking advantage of the situation,” Duterte said.

Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez assured the President that DTI personnel are deployed to closely monitor establishments and ensure that no one is taking advantage of the predicament of the typhoon victims. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Nel Maribojoc)

Duterte declares Odette-hit areas under state of calamity

Maris Federez   •   December 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has placed the areas battered by Typhoon Odette under a state of calamity.

In his Talk to the Nation program aired Tuesday (December 21) night, the President said the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) “came out with a resolution recommending that a state of calamity be declared over the affected areas, and this would include Regions 4B, 6, 7, 8, 10, and 13”.

“Malakas ang bagyo ng dumating sa buhay natin and we are doing everything we can. Pinafast track ko. Para hindi ko makalimutan, I have decided to declare a state of calamity,” he said.

Duterte said that placing these areas under a state of calamity “will hasten the rescue, relief and rehabilitation efforts of the government and the private sector, including, saang galing tulong, be it outside or tayo-tayo lang”.

The President believes that the declaration of a state of calamity will give the government an effective mechanism to control the prices of goods and commodities in the said areas.

The President said he will go back to these areas on Wednesday (December 22). —/mbmf

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