(Eagle News)—President Rodrigo Duterte urged his officials to provide water and food to those areas severely affected by typhoon Rosita (international name Yutu) as he directed the “return to normalcy as soon as possible” of the affected areas.
Duterte surveyed the areas damaged by the typhoon’s onslaught, and conducted an aerial surveillance along with his officials.
In a situation briefing in Isabela on Thursday, Nov. 1, the President noted the “extensive” damage in Northern Luzon.
He also expressed worry about the missing persons in these areas, including Natonin town where a Department of Public Works and Highways second district engineering office had been buried in a landslide on Oct. 30.
“Well, from the looks of it, sa taas kami, the damage was really very extensive. Lalo na sa road network. And there’s a lot to do there plus the missing persons which are worrying us now. How many are still inside that DPWH and those houses that were swept away that never caught our attention. So that’s one,” the President said in a briefing in Cauayan City, Isabela.
“How many are still inside that DPWH and those houses that were swept away that never caught our attention? So that’s one,” he said.
The President said that it was important to provide food to those doing search and rescue operations and to those people whose homes had been destroyed.
“The most important thing really is that one — right now it’s tubig. Pagka ‘yang mga ganun, tubig pati pagkain. Iyong pagkain, sometimes I have this — well, something like observation. Huwag ninyong bigyan ng ‘yang kaldero pati palanggana kasi wala ‘yan silang malutuan and they have to gather the firewoods and everything. Ang dalhin niyo — the first dalhin talaga ninyo is the pure protein and mga pan ganun. Iyong sardinas kasi inumin lang ‘yan. Ang iba kasi bigyan ng bigas tapos magbigay ng cooking pots and the palangganas and all. They are of no use to those persons at this point,” he explained.
He said that both the victims of the typhoon, especially those who were injured, and those who lost their houses and belongings are confused and “disoriented” at this point.
“They are bewildered, disoriented and probably the first thing really is to for the health services guys to go there to treat the wounded or if they are seriously suffering from injuries that they should be right away be brought to the place where the choppers can land and ‘yung mga helicopters na magdala ng tulong doon for those that are — that would needed medical attention — they can be retrieved there and brought here in the municipal — or in the city. Ganon ang… You have the services of the…? The Air Force would only be too happy to help,” Duterte explained as he directed both national and local officials on what they should do.
“In my years of government, ganun talaga tubig tapos pagkain that’s it. Hindi na kailangan lutuin. Diretso na lang ‘yan kainin. Sardines and canned — mga baka or pork. Diretso na.”
-Duterte satisfied with gov’t officials’ response –
The President also expressed satisfaction that his officials are working and doing their duties in the typhoon’s aftermath.
“I am satisfied with the response of government, everybody is here, and I think that everyone is doing his duty. I’d like to thank you for that. Verily, the rule in crisis management or whatever calamity or whatever, the number one rule is you have to return to normalcy as soon as possible,” he said.
Duterte said that he was sure that DPWH Secretary will have a “ready response” to move those who are trapped in area.
“You are beginning to do your work there, especially those who are trapped. I saw a lot of motor vehicles there prove that they cannot move in or move out. They are isolated there. That’s a major problem also about the people. I hope that they can just traverse it towards the area where there was this proper — the municipal town, where they can seek refuge in the meantime. The mitigating measures that were taken by all is impressive. And I’d like to thank you. So I did not waste my time coming here,” he said.
-Helicopters for airlifting of food, necessities assured-
During the briefing, Mountain Province Gov. Bonigacio Lacwasan Jr., thanked Duterte for the opportunity to be with him during the aerial survey of the affected areas.
He informed him of the predicament of those who would want to help in the Ground Zero of the DPWH landslide but could not do so because of mobility problems.
Duterte agreed to provide the helicopters to help in the transportation of the things they needed, including the airlifting of food items.
“Thank you very much at nagkaroon ako ng oportunidad na nakasama kita sa aerial view kanina, sir. Gusto ko pong ipaalam na ‘yung nakikita nating hanay ng mga sasakyan na nakabuntot sa backhoe, ‘yun po ay mga sasakyan ng mga gustong tumulong sa ground zero,” Gov. Lacwasan said.
“May dala ng — ang iba may dalang food items, mga logistic na gustong itulong kaya lang hindi sila makalapit. Kaya ang hiling po kung pwede ‘yung mag-airlift na lang sa munisipyo ng Natonin ng mga food items o mga kailangan po kasi talagang hindi makapunta ‘yung sasakyan doon,” he said.
Duterte then asked: “Is there a place where the helicopters can land?”
When Lacwasan replied in the affirmative, the President said, “Okay. We will ask the TOG here to provide the mobility.”