Davao International Airport
07 December 2012

After his visit in the towns of New Bataan, Compostela Valley and Boston in Davao Oriental, President Benigno S. Aquino III went back to Davao International Airport and headed the briefing of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) on the effects of typhoon Pablo in the Mindanao region.

During the briefing, President Aquino cited that among his priorities are the intensification of the search and rescue operations, provision of sufficient supply of clean and potable water, implementation of centralized evacuation procedures, revival of agriculture and infrastructure facilities, and electrification of un-energized areas in Mindanao.

The President appointed Lt. Gen. Jorge Segovia, head of the Western Mindanao Command, to lead the task force which will monitor and give an overall daily progress report on the search, rescue and retrieval operations. The President said that he aims to appease the anxiety of the families whose loved ones are still missing.

President Aquino also wants to probe on the cause of deaths in the evacuation centers in Cateel and New Bataan which are also devastated by the heavy rains and flash floods. He said that evacuation areas are supposed to be a safer place but it turned out to be more dangerous because local officials did not know that these shelters were situated in flood-prone areas.

He further said that there might be a possibility that another typhoon will enter the country before the year ends. With this, he stated that similar situations must be prevented, therefore appropriate actions should be implemented.

President Aquino said that a 4.5 billion pesos worth of calamity fund is already available for disbursement and an estimate of 8 billion pesos will be added by the Department of Budget and Management.

NDRRMC Executive Director Benito Ramos reported that as of 2:00 p.m., 439 persons are confirmed dead while 445 are injured and 383 are still missing. He also stated that a total of 1,033,364 families are affected in regions 4-B, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11 and CARAGA. The initial cost of damages in infrastructure and agriculture reached up to P897,670,000 and P3,365,534,688.02 which sums to P4,268,624,688.02. Provinces including Surigao del Sur, Davao Oriental, Compostela Valley and some municipalities in Davao del Norte and Palawan have been declared under a state of local calamity.

The government has gathered P34.8 million total cost of assistance coming from the Department of Social Welfare and Development, local government units, and non-government organizations.

Usec. Ramos recommended to President Aquino to declare a state of national calamity covering the provinces of Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental, Davao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Oriental, Cagayan de Oro City and Palawan. Its purpose is to speed up the rescue, relief and rehabilitation efforts done by the government and other international humanitarian organizations. The declaration of the state of national calamity is yet to be announced by the President.

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