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Duterte likely to declare state of calamity in typhoon-hit areas

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte is likely to place areas successively ravaged by Typhoon Quinta and Super Typhoon Rolly under a state of calamity, Malacañang said Monday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this remark after the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council recommended that Bicol, Region 4-A (Calabarzon), and Region 4-B (Mimaropa) be placed under a state of calamity because of almost PHP17 billion worth of damage wrought by back-to-back “Quinta” and “Rolly”.

Most likely po pero antayin na natin iyong papel mismo na manggagaling sa tanggapan ng Presidente,” he said in a Palace press briefing.

According to the NDRRMC, “Quinta” left at least PHP2.603 billion worth of damage to agriculture and infrastructure while “Rolly” caused PHP14.153 billion damage or a total of P16.756 billion for the two typhoons.

Reports from the Office of Civil Defense showed that more than 86,000 more houses were damaged or destroyed in Region 4-A, Region 4-B, Bicol, and some parts of the Visayas at the height of “Quinta”.

Meanwhile, over 160,000 houses were either damaged or destroyed in Bicol alone due to “Rolly”.

Last week, Roque said Duterte and the government is “on top of the rehabilitation effort” in typhoon-hit areas.

Government was prepared for this. We have prepositioned even equipment from [Department of Public Works and Highways], and food packs. And number two, the President is on top of the rehabilitation effort. A task force may not be necessary because the President is personally attending to ensure that the rehabilitation of these devastated areas will proceed as soon as possible,” he said.

He said Duterte was satisfied with typhoon preparedness of both local and national governments which helped limit casualties and minimize damage.

We were able to limit the casualties, and it could have been more because this was a super typhoon. But he’s pleased to note that the local government units acted promptly in asking residents in low-lying areas to evacuate and thereby reducing, minimizing the number of casualties,” he added.

A declaration of a state of calamity hastens rescue, relief, and rehabilitation efforts of the government and the private sector, including any international humanitarian assistance.

It also effectively controls the prices of basic goods and commodities in the affected areas.

Currently, the entire country is under a state of calamity due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Duterte has extended the state of calamity “for a period of one year“, or from Sept. 13, 2020 to Sept. 12, 2021, “unless earlier lifted or ex extended as circumstances may warrant“.Philippine News Agency