Pili, Camarines Sur
January 4, 2019

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, together with his Cabinet members and local government officials, held a situation briefing after his aerial inspection on the aftermath of Tropical Depression (TD) ‘Usman’ at the Camarines Sur Watersports Complex (CWC) in Pili, Camarines Sur.

During the situation briefing, the President assured the provincial government of Camarines Sur that he shall prioritize the Bicol Region to speed up recovery and rehabilitation measures, particularly in removing floodwaters in several devastated towns.

He also reiterated the need for the creation of the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) that shall focus on developing preemptive measures to minimize risks during disasters.  “I have plans of making this department a regular department.  Solely to meet the challenges,” President Duterte said.

The Chief Executive suggested to source funding from the road user’s tax to rehabilitate the calamity-stricken towns.

“We will work together, convince Congress.  I will not release a single centavo there.  But if it can be put to good use… Okay ako diyan,” he added.

The onslaught of Tropical Depression ‘Usman’ during the Christmas season resulted in the proclamation of three (3) provinces in the Bicol Region under a state of calamity after heavy rains triggered massive flooding and landslides.

As of January 3 (Thursday), the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported 122 deaths related to TD Usman in Eastern Visayas and Bicol, with the latter having the most number of fatalities: Albay (18), Camarines Sur (57), Camarines Norte (15), Sorsogon (8), and Masbate (7).