AS various government agencies continue to provide assistance to Filipinos affected by Super Typhoon Rolly, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go suggested the creation of a task force dedicated to address the concerns brought about by the super typhoon towards immediate recovery and rehabilitation.
In an interview after distributing aid to affected residents of the municipalities of Bato and Virac in Catanduanes, Go told reporters that he had discussed with National Housing Authority General Manager Marcelino P. Escalada, Jr. the creation of Task Force Rolly.
“Isa-suggest ko kay Pangulong Duterte, and I have discussed with General Manager Escalada of the NHA, na tulad po ng ginawa nila sa Yolanda na magkaroon ng task force for rehabilitation, gumawa rin tayo ng Task Force Rolly kasi di naman po Catanduanes lang ang tinamaan dito,” Go said.
“Importante po dito well-coordinated naman lahat ng agencies ng gobyerno para po ma-restore (to) normalcy po, not only Catanduanes, kasama na rin iba pang probinsyang tinamaan ng bagyo,” Go further said.
On November 1, 2020, Super Typhoon Rolly made landfall and brought torrential rains, violent winds, mudslides and storm surges to the Philippines’ largest island of Luzon. According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council and Department of Social Welfare and Development, the super typhoon left extensive damage, and affected 1.9 million Filipinos. An estimated 845,000 people are in need of assistance.
“Kadalasan po sa LGUs, ubos po ang kanilang pera kaya po nag-suggest ako na mabigyan sila ng konting replenishment of their calamity fund. Malaking tulong na po yan para sa rehabilitation at sa mga tao,” Go said.
Earlier, Go has appealed to the national government to provide additional financial assistance to the typhoon-hit LGUs. The Senator went on to say that he already had a talk with Budget and Management Secretary Wendel Avisado concerning the recommendation.
“Bago kami pumunta dito, nagkausap na kami ni Sec. Avisado. Hihingi lang kami ng approval kay Presidente, ‘yun pong aking recommendation na maglaan ng 1% po para sa budget,” Go said.
“Kasi ang 5% po na calamity funds ngayon ay ubos na po. Nagamit na po (laban sa COVID-19) because we’re under the state of national emergency right now,” he added.
“Tuloy tuloy po ang aking opisina, opisina ni Pangulo at iba’t ibang agencies na umikot sa Kabikulan. Kung sino ang tinamaan ng bagyo, iikutin po namin para magbigay tulong sa abot ng aming makakaya,” he ended.
A total of 2,849 affected families received assistance from the office of Senator Go, including free meals, food packs, masks and face shields, and vitamins during the distribution activity held at Bato Central Elementary School under strict health protocols. The Senator also gave away bicycles to selected recipients to help them in their daily commute to work. He also distributed tablets to chosen beneficiaries to help their kids with their blended learning implemented in schools.
The Department of Health distributed hygiene kits, collapsible water drinking containers and assorted medicines while the Department of Energy is working hard to restore electricity in affected areas.
Meanwhile, officials from concerned government agencies were also interviewed, including NHA General Manager Marcelino Escalada who said that they have been instructed by the President to come up with a lasting intervention regarding relocation of residents living in areas vulnerable to typhoons, such as coastlines.
“Sa mga taga-Catanduanes, ingat kayo. May parating na naman na bagyo, sumunod kayo sa health protocols, social distancing, wear your masks po at face shield at kung ‘di kailangan, ‘wag muna lumabas ng pamamahay,” Go said.
After visiting Bato, Go and concerned agencies headed for Virac to provide similar assistance to affected residents in the capital town.