In the wake of the devastation left by supertyphoon Rolly in CALABARZON and the Bicol Region, Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr said that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, who conducted an aerial inspection of affected areas, was satisfied with government’s typhoon preparedness.
“(T)he President is very happy to note that everyone did their job to warn people, to evacuate, to prepare evacuation centers, to preposition supplies, to preposition equipment para maprepare ang mga kalsada. Yan po ang importante, na pinaghandaan natin nang mabuti ang bagyong ito,” said Seretary Roque during a press briefing on November 3.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported 17 casualties (as of November 3) due to supertyphoon Rolly. “Our aim is still zero casualty, but nakita naman natin bagama’t napakalakas nitong bagyong ito, nagbunga po yung ating disaster preparedness,” said the Palace spokesman.
These government preparations include stockpiles and standby funds worth P884 million from the Department of Social Welfare and Development, deployment of 155 Armed Forces of the Philippines’ officers and 3,013 enlisted personnel who helped in the evacuation of more than 300,000 individuals in 1,558 barangays, and deployment by the Philippine National Police of some 5,804 personnel for search and rescue and 1,556 personnel deployed in various evacuation centers.
Prior to typhoon Rolly’s entry in the country, the Department of Public Works and Highways has already mobilized 4,931 personnel and 1,295 equipment that enabled the faster clearing of affected roads. From 15 closed road sections yesterday because of the typhoon, there are now only 10 remaining closed roads that are undergoing clearing or are yet to be cleared.
Likewise, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, Manila International Airport Authority, and Clark International Airport Authority have secured airports, runway equipment, and other facilities and have coordinated with local disaster offices as part of their typhoon disaster response. This is why airports in Manila, Clark, Subic, Sangley, Legazpi, Naga, and Virac are already back to their normal operations today.
Similarly, the LRT, MRT, PNR, and the EDSA Busway are also back in operations. “Dito makikita natin ang kahandaan ng buong pamahalaan, at kahit nasa Davao ang Presidente ay namo-monitor niya ang mga ito,” said Sec. Roque.
In yesterday’s briefing with the President, Department of Budget and Management Secretary Wendel Avisado assured the availability of P3.622-Billion in calamity funds, a portion of which can be used to assist those who have been severely affected by super typhoon Rolly. Meanwhile, Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez said that a price freeze will be in effect in areas that declared a state of calamity, while the Suggested Retail Price will be in effect in areas where there will be no price freeze implementation.
In another development, President Duterte designated National Task Force Against COVID-19 (NTF) Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr as Vaccine Czar who will be in charge of procurement, storage and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
“Simple lang po yan, because the vaccine operation will entail logistics. Kinakailangan po talaga may managerial skills at sanay sa ganitong management processes,” said Sec. Roque, adding that the management of the procurement, storage, and distribution of the vaccine will be more of a logistics challenge than a medical challenge.
For his part, Secretary Galvez said that a major activity of Phase III of the National Action Plan on COVID-19 is making the vaccines available for Filipinos, which is part of the NTF’s mandate. Galvez assured that his role as vaccine czar will be more of a gatekeeper, integrator or synchronizer following President Duterte’s instruction to unburden the Department of Health from administrative functions related to the vaccines so it can focus on the implementation of the nationwide vaccination.
Also in the said press briefing, Department of Energy (DOE) Undersecretary Felix Fuentebella reported that several teams from various regions are on their way to provide service and assistance to the worst-hit areas affected by super typhoon Rolly. In particular, 13 teams from DOE Region 8 together with other personnel from other energy players are on their way to Albay now to restore power.
For the restoration and repair of damaged water facilities, Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) Administrator Jeci Lapus said that pumping stations and transmission lines in Catanduanes were damaged and still need to be checked before it can be rehabilitated. OPS-PCOO