Provincial Capitol, La Trinidad, Benguet
September 17, 2018

As the people of Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) endured Typhoon Ompong’s devastation, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte presided over a situation briefing to assess the damages and casualties in La Trinidad, Benguet at the region’s Provincial Capitol.

In his opening statement, President Duterte underscored the mining operations’ contribution to the disasters that transpired in the region.

“Mining has been operating in this country uncontrolled. What’s being done here is being repeatedly replicated in large areas of Mindanao, especially Surigao, Davao del Norte and (Davao) Oriental,” the Chief Executive said.

In response, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu officially announced a cease and desist order to temporarily suspend small scale mining operations within the region.

The Chief Executive also emphasized his earlier remarks in the previous briefing, where he stressed public schools suffer the most as they shoulder the burden as evacuation centers for the affected residents.

“Everytime that there is a crisis, it is the public schools who suffer,” President Duterte reiterated, supported by the data provided by Department of Education, (DepEd), where they cited 100 schools are being used as safe havens through the course of the evacuation process.

Typhoon Ompong, with international name ‘Mangkhut’, ravaged the CAR with heavy rains triggering 98 landslides, 13 flooding incidents, two (2) sinking area incidents, seven (7) fallen trees, and four (4) road slips that resulted in fatalities and road closures across the region.

Infrastructural damages reached 104 road sections and one (1) bridge closed to traffic, with total and partial damages to 32 and 428 houses, respectively.

A total of 9,158 families and 35, 196 individuals were affected by Ompong’s rampage in Cordillera, with 54 recorded casualties, 17 injuries and 49 individuals still missing as government agencies and armed forces continue with their search and rescue operations.

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