Provincial Capitol, Laoag, Ilocos Norte
September 16, 2018

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte assessed the damages that Typhoon Ompong brought to the province of Cagayan as he listened to a situation briefing at the Cagayan Provincial Capitol in Tuguegarao City led by Presidential Adviser for Political Affairs Secretary Francis Tolentino.

Several Cabinet Secretaries reported about their respective departments’ accomplishments and plans for recovery in their areas of responsibility that were assigned by the Chief Executive prior to the landfall of the typhoon. He also lauded the efforts of the local government unit in Cagayan province.

“It was not so severe as we expected it to be. Because earlier it was touted that malakas rin ito and so it got everybody worried and… I think I made the right decision when I called for a Cabinet tête-à-tête, very informal. It was the time that I said the Cabinet members should be here especially those ‘yung provinces niya,” said President Duterte.

Secretary Tolentino informed the President that around 5.7 million Filipinos were affected by the typhoon. As the appointed official in the disaster preparedness and response operations of the government, he cited that there were casualties reported by the response teams in Nueva Vizcaya and the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) that claimed the lives of those living in the landslide-prone areas.

President Duterte also reiterated the urgency of rehabilitation in bringing back to normalcy the people’s lives in the places hit by the typhoon. He instructed the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to design a building or a dedicated evacuation area that would cater to the victims in the future, in order to lessen the impact of using the Department of Education’s (DepEd) public schools, thus allowing the children to continue their classes.

“One is to assure the people that government is present. And this is what I learned — this is not mine. This is to plagiarize — for the longest time that I was a local official and President Ramos was the President. He’d always emphasize on us… stress that we go back to normalcy as soon as possible,” President Duterte added.

The President is also scheduled to visit Ilocos Norte, Benguet, and Isabela to personally inspect the damages in these places and condole with the families of the reported casualties due to the onslaught of Typhoon Ompong.

* * *