Relief and rehab operations ongoing in Kalinga

CITY OF TABUK, Kalinga -- Relief operations and rehabilitation activities are continuously being done after super typhoon Lawin slammed the province last week affecting more than 40,000 families and damaging millions-worth of crops and infrastructures.

The 5,000 pre-positioned food packs by the social welfare and development offices, and the provincial disaster risk reduction management office are now being distributed to affected families while 6,000 relief supplies from the National Relief Operation Center (NROC) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development are coming.

Four hundred fifty sacks of rice also funded by NROC will be purchased locally to augment the initial 100 sacks of the staple food provided by the provincial government.

Army troops with their trucks and Philippine Air Force choppers are helping deliver relief goods to isolated barangays while the Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection, concerned government employees and volunteer groups are providing support services.

Churches and some non-government organizations are also doing relief operations from donations contributed by their own members and donors.

The two district engineering offices of the Department of Public Works and Highways are leading major road clearing and rehabilitation operations.

Major road networks linking Kalinga to other provinces have already been opened except the Lubuagan-Batong Buhay and Pinukpuk-Balbalan road while 50 responders from the Metro Manila Development Authority are helping in the clearing operations.

Telecommunication signal is now back but DZRK Radyo ng Bayan, Radyo Natin FM and cable networks are still down. Electric power is expected to be restored by November.

Gov. Jocel Baac and Vice Governor James Edduba are personally manning the Provincial Disaster Operations Center with DRRMO Richard Anniban after declaring the province under state of calamity last week.

Three cabinet secretaries have visited affected areas to see for themselves the extent of damages and determine what are needed.

Agriculture Secretary Manny Pinol came Saturday and assured farmers his office will provide certified seeds, agricultural facilities and other farm inputs.

DILG Sec. Ismael Sueno and DSWD Sec. Judy Taguiwalo visited on Wednesday.

Sueno assured local officials of fund assistance to LGUs during rehabilitation stage while Taguiwalo told affected families they will be given P5,000 emergency assistance to rebuild their damaged houses aside from relief goods. Initial checks were released during her visit at barangays Cabaruan and Sucbot.

Extent of damages could have been more devastating if not for the early preparations made by the PDRRMC. This was acknowledged and commended by the visiting Cabinet secretaries. (Peter Balocnit/PIA – CAR)

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