October 14, 2016
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte personally visited Batanes after it suffered the onslaught of Super Typhoon Ferdie, one of the strongest typhoons that hit the province in more than two decades, after it made landfall last September 14.
Typhoon Ferdie (international name: Meranti) sustained maximum strength of 255 kilometers per hour (kph) that placed the Batanes Group of Islands under public storm warning signal no. 4. It brought extensive damage to the province’s agriculture sector and infrastructure, amounting to PhP 835 million.
It affected 2,891 families or 61% of the total population, mostly of which came from the municipalities of Basco and Itbayat that were the hardest hit areas. However, there were no reported cases of death, and only 12 minor injuries.
In his speech, President Duterte expressed his admiration to the people of Batanes for their resiliency and unity during the devastation of the typhoon, saying, “Iyong pinaka storm-battered na mga tao sa Pilipinas ay kayo po. So kung anumang hurricane o anumang bagyo ang dadating sa Pilipinas, kayo ang pinaka praktisado… because you are a resilient race.”
The President took time to listen to the concerns raised by the Ivatans. According to Batanes Governor Marilou Cayco, they are seeking for assistance to rebuild major infrastructures and financial aid for the farmers and fishermen.
President Duterte ordered his government, particularly the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Department of Agriculture (DA) to undertake immediate action for the redevelopment of the whole province. With an allotted budget for this, he promised an equal distribution of relief efforts to achieve faster results.
As of the moment, relief operations continue to pour in for Batanes. Rehabilitation in the whole province is also in full swing, with communication lines and power supply currently being restored. Likewise, families who were relocated earlier returned to their homes, some of which were given financial assistance to help them rebuild their houses destroyed by the super typhoon.
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