PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday vowed to restore normalcy in Cagayan Valley after the region experienced its worst flooding in 40 years due to heavy rains brought by Typhoon Ulysses enhanced by the tail end of a cold front.
In a situation briefing in Tuguegarao City, Duterte promised that the government will “work hard” to rebuild their lives and will prioritize providing immediate rescue, relief, and assistance.
“We will do everything to return to normalcy. In the meantime, ang problema talaga sa sunog o baha is water. Clean water, potable water. Kung wala, then we will send them here even if we have to travel overnight. Then food, importante talaga (is really important) to sustain them,” he said.
He assured that concerned agencies will attend to everyone’s needs, adding that their health, safety, and improved welfare will remain the government’s top priority.
“I want to personally assure our fellowmen here that the government will continue its rescue operations until all families are saved, all casualties and missing persons have been accounted for, and all affected individuals and communities have received their needed relief and other assistance,” he added.
Duterte also extended his condolences to the families of residents who have died as floodwaters reached roof levels.
“My solidarity and condolence go out to my fellow Filipinos in Cagayan Valley, most especially to the bereaved families of the victims of the unprecedented flooding that occurred in the area in the aftermath of Typhoon Ulysses. This strong typhoon has affected more than 97 families in Region 2. We are saddened to know that 24 persons perished here while a few others are still missing,” he said.
He said more than P1 million worth of assistance was provided to Region 2 (Cagayan Valley) by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, local government units, and non-government organizations.
Meanwhile, he also directed Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu to investigate illegal logging and mining in the region.
He asked Cimatu to ensure that residents in flood-prone areas are transferred to safer places to live.
Before the situation briefing, Duterte also conducted an aerial inspection over Cagayan Valley to personally see the extent of damage of the massive flooding in the region.
As of Sunday, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) executive director Ricardo Jalad said there have been 69 deaths recorded from six regions in Luzon except Region I.
He said almost 286,000 families or 1.1 million individuals were affected by the typhoon, while more than 3,000 houses were damaged or destroyed.
Damage to agriculture is estimated at almost P1 billion, while damage to infrastructure is around P253 million, he added. Philippine News Agency