Aquino orders agencies to extend help to LGUs hit by quake-A A +A
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III ordered Tuesday the concerned government agencies to conduct rescue operations and to extend the necessary assistance to the local government units (LGUs) affected by the strong earthquake.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a press briefing that the Chief Executive immediately talked with Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman and directed them to ensure that all the assistance could immediately be provided to the areas hit by the magnitude-7.2 earthquake.
She said that the Department of Public Works and Highways was also directed to check on the structures in the affected places.
Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson has already ordered state engineers to check the integrity of some tunnels and flyovers in Cebu City as well as other government offices, schools and hospitals.
Clearing operation is also underway in Bohol where the earthquakes were centered. Public Works Undersecretary for Operations Romeo Momo said three engineering districts are working to remove obstacles in the roads affected by the earthquake so that it won't harm the transport of relief goods. Six bridges are now impassable to motorists.
Meanwhile, Valte said the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police were also instructed to augment the manpower of the rescue teams of the LGUs.
She said the Department of Social Welfare and Development has also the standby funds of P8.7 million - P5.9 million for Region 6 and P2.84 million for Region 7.
Asked if the President will personally inspect the damage areas before he leaves on Thursday for a state visit in South Korea, Valte said, "Knowing the President, he will want to see first that assistance is given to the areas that need it the most."
She added that it will be the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council and other agencies that would give suggestions to the President which are the hardest hit areas which he could visit if he decided to go.
Aquino went to NDRRMC headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo to get briefing on the situation in the Visayas, which was greatly affected by the quake.
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., for his part, said that the House of Representatives will extend its assistance to the Visayas region once the extent of the damage has been assessed.
"After we receive a thorough assessment of the damage in these places especially from your district representatives, the lower house is prepared to do its part to once again fully respond to this crisis. We shall offer whatever timely assistance is expected from us to help our brother Filipinos in these areas get back on their feet," Belmonte said in a press statement.
The House leader also called on residents in the affected areas to continue monitoring advisories from the NDRRMC and other government agencies to take the necessary precautions.
"This unfortunate natural disaster once again calls upon us to exercise the resiliency and bayanihan our nation is known for and purposely do our share as individuals and members of organizations to help those who have fallen victims and have been displaced as a result of this tragedy," he added. (SDR/John Carlo Cahinhinan/Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)