MANILA, OCTOBER 7, 2009 (MALACANANG) President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has ordered the immediate resettlement of displaced victims of tropical storm “Ondoy” in a move to restore normalcy.

Press Undersecretary Anthony Golez today said in a press briefing that the order is in line with the President’s earlier directive to prevent residents from returning to their former homes in vulnerable areas like riverbanks and mountain slopes.

He noted that with five to six more typhoons expected to hit the country this year, the President’s order gains urgency.

“Government is doing everything it can to bring back normalcy,” Golez said. There is immediate need for resettlement as evacuees cannot stay long in evacuation centers,” he stressed.

He said Vice President and Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) chairman Noli de Casto has identified several possible relocation sites, among which was a Manila Bank property in San Miguel, with 281 hectares ready for agricultural-development for the settlers livelihood.

Golez urged local government units (LGUS) to come up with their own rehabilitation blueprint in coordination with the national government. He said they know what to prioritize to meet the demands of their people.

Based on the Oct. 5 report of the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC), there are 335,740 evacuees in 557 evacuation centers.

DSWD spends P2 million daily for relief

The Arroyo administration is spending P2 million a day to feed people in 2000 evacuation centers for the past nine days as a result of typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng.

Social Welfare and Development Secretary Esperanza Cabral said the money was on top of the donations in cash and in kind from private organizations.

Cabral made the report at the luncheon tendered by President Arroyo for the Balikatan ng Kababaihan at the Presidential Security Group gymnasium in Malacanang Park.

The Balikatan ng Kababaihan is a 29-year old organization that has been providing livelihood opportunities to thousands of women all over the country by linking them with suppliers of raw materials and machinery and the markets for different kinds of products made from recycled materials.

She said the evacuees normally enjoy six meals a day—including snacks being given them by the numerous NGOs and business and civic clubs that distribute their goods directly to the evacuation centers.

“We now have to wait for the signal from the proposed resettlements or relocation camps before we can let go of these evacuees,” Cabral said.

Regular medical and dental teams are also making the rounds of the evacuation centers to protect them from disease outbreaks caused by the garbage piles, improper sanitation and hygiene and even the places which are still under water as these are good breeding grounds for mosquitoes that can carry diseases like dengue, Cabral said. TOP


Treasury gets P43-million ADB relief fund

The Arroyo administration received yesterday a grant of $3 million from the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Haruhiko Kuroda, ADB president, pledged the amount in a letter of condolence and sympathy to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo after typhoon Ondoy struck and killed hundreds and laid to waste properties worth billions of pesos in the National Capital Region and surrounding provinces.

In that letter, Kuroda also said he was “deeply saddened by the tragic loss of lives, suffering and damage caused by floods as a result of heavy rains that suddenly and relentlessly hit Manila and nearby provinces over the past weekend.”

The ADB said the telegraphic transfer was sent directly to the Department of Finance International Finance Group, which in turn forwarded the cash to the Bureau of Treasury for disbursements to government agencies in charge of relief operations.

“We are closely monitoring the situation and stand ready to assist the government of the Philippines,” Kuroda said.

ADB’s emergency facility—the Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund disburses grants to cover the cost of restoring life-saving services following a disaster in the region.

It coordinates its efforts assistance program with the United Nations to and the international community.

Political rivalries heating up; 75 local officials killed By Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) Updated October 07, 2009 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Political rivalries are heating up in the countryside as 75 local officials have been killed and 36 others wounded with only seven months before the elections in 2010, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said yesterday.

PNP chief Director General Jesus Verzosa said the number of local officials getting killed and wounded had been included in the 111 violent incidents reported since January.

Verzosa stressed the PNP will extend utmost assistance to national and local government officials seeking police protection and security.

Verzosa cited the report of PNP operations chief Director Andres Caro that among those killed and wounded were governors, congressmen, councilors, mayors and barangay officials.

Caro, for his part, called on police regional directors to extend full security assistance to local officials in their respective regions.

“Political rivalries appear to be heating up already as violent incidents victimizing local government officials have been reported from January to this date,” Caro said.

Caro said the police would also provide security to national officials visiting the provinces on official business or other purposes.

Verzosa said the PNP would activate Task Group EGO to focus on the investigation of violent incidents against local officials.

He said the task force would implement measures to prevent and put an end to violence against politicians and elected government officials in line with the directive of President Arroyo.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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