GMA  TAPS  PALACE  PROPERTIES  IN  BAGUIO,  ILOCOS  AS  EVACUAITON  CENTERS

MANILA, OCTOBER 11,
2009 (MALACANANG) President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo today opened Malacanang properties in Baguio City and Ilocos region as evacuation and monitoring centers of the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council (RDCC) of Region 1.

In her statement issued this morning, the President announced the Mansion House, the presidential residence in the country’s summer capital, will be immediately open to government employees displaced by typhoon “Pepeng,” in much the same way that Malacañang were earlier opened to victims of typhoon “Ondoy”.

The “Malacanang ti Amianan” in Ilocos was made the temporary office of RDCC Region 1, whose jurisdiction was expanded to include Abra province.

The Vice President cottage, a property owned by the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) in Baguio City, was converted by the President as the office of the Baguio City Disaster Coordinating Council (DCC).

The President also obliged officials and cadets of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) to provide assistance to displaced state employees inside Mansion House.

Meanwhile, the President reassured affected residents in Northern and Central Luzon that government will continue to do its best to help ease their plight even as rescue, relief, and rehabilitation efforts in other areas nationwide are ongoing.

“Maaasahan ng ating mga kababayang nasalanta ng bagyong ‘Pepeng’ pati na rin ng ‘Ondoy’ ang patuloy na pagtaguyod at pagtulong ng pamahalaan, ng mga kasundaluhan at kapulisan,” she said, adding she is personally extending the nation’s sympathy and concern for the families heavily affected by typhoon ‘Pepeng.’

PGMA wants N. Luzon to focus on rehab and relocation of families

Tuguegarao, Cagayan--- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo asked Region 2 local officials to focus on rehabilitation efforts and the relocation of families affected by the floods of typhoon “Pepeng”. She also congratulated them for their pre-emptive evacuation of residents in typhoon vulnerable areas, which led to zero casualties

Presiding at the meeting of the regional disaster coordinating council (RDCC) headed by Provincial Regional District 2 Director Chief Superintendent Roberto Damian, the President said she wants the RDCC to present the funding requirements needed to rehabilitate damaged roads, bridges, and agricultural facilities. She insisted the report should cover Kalinga and Apayao.

Prior to the RDCC meeting, the President led the distribution of relief goods to 300 families in Cagayan, particularly the low-lying areas of Tuguegarao, Iguig, and Penablanca at the gymnasium at the back of the capitol.

“Pepeng” battered the province for a week, causing Magat dam to spill 884 cubic meters of water to neighboring towns in an effort to ensure a safe water level, Damian said.

The President was accompanied by Cabinet Secretary Silvestre Bello III and Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) Prospero Pichay. Among the local officials who attended the RDCC2 meeting were Isabela Gov. Ma. Grace Padaca, Cagayan Gov. Alvaro Antonio, Quirino Gov. Dakila Carlo Cua, Tuguegarao Mayor Delfin Ting, Santiago Mayor Amelita Navaro, and Cauayan Mayor Caesar Dy.

The President said she ordered state funding agencies such as the Social Security System (SSS), Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), and the Philippine Home Mortgage Finance Corp (PAGIBIG) to defer collecting member loans for a year and to provide additional housing and other loans to members adversely affected by typhoons “Ondoy” and “Pepeng”..

She urged local governments exhaust their calamity funds, not just for relief and evacuation operations but also for risk management.

Although she hopes that both Houses of Congress will be able to pass the P10 billion supplemental calamity fund, the President strongly doubts the immediate passage of the bill considering that funding to repair infrastructure damaged by typhoon “Frank” has not yet been released.

The President said the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) meeting on Tuesday will take up rehabilitation funding requests from different areas hit by the last two typhoons “so that we can determine how soon and to what extent the rehabilitation can be done.”

Gov. Padaca asked the National Food Authority (NFA) to relax its quality requirements and buy the damaged crops of rice and corn farmers so that they will not suffer total crop loss from “Pepeng.”

The President said she wants rice farmers to be given immediate planting assistance by the Department of Agriculture (DA) so that their crops can be completely planted by Nov. 1.

Statement of the President

Ipinaaabot natin ang pakikidalamhati ng sambayanang Pilipino, sa mga kababayan nating nasalanta ng bagyong Pepeng .

Hinahagupit ang maraming lugar ng Asya dala marahil sa climate change ng global warming na nagbunsod dito ng climate change. Gaya nang pinapa-alala natin sa ating climate change bawat Byernes, ang mga pulong bansa ay napaka-vulnerable sa climate change, kahit na hindi tayo ang pinaka-sanhi nito. Kasama sa mga pulong bansang vulnerable ay ang mga nasalanta sa mga nakaraang araw gaya ng Indonesia, Samoa, at Hapon.

Maaasahan ng ating mga kababayang nasalanta ng bagyong Pepeng pati na rin ng Ondoy ang patuloy na pagtaguyod at pagtulong ng pamahalaan, ng mga kasundaluhan, mga pulis. Nagpapasalamat tayo sa balikatan ng mga volunteers, itong mga nasa likod natin, mula sa private sector at civil society, at mula sa ibang mga bansa.

Ipinag-utos ko kagabi na agarang gamitin ang Mansion House sa Baguio bilang evacuation center lalo na hindi exclusive para sa mga kawani ng pamahalaan na kinailangang lumikas sa kanilang mga pamamahay.

Ang “Malacañang ti Amianan” naman sa Ilocos ay gagamitin bilang himpilan ng Regional Disaster Coordinating Council ng Region I. Pinapaalala ko sa RDCC ng Region I na sakop nila ang Abra, dahil ito ay masyadong malayong asikasuhin mula sa Baguio.

Kasama sa ating aksiyon ang paggamit ng VP’s cottage, Vice President’s cottage sa Baguio, na pag-aari ng Development Bank of the Philippines, para sa Baguio City Disaster Coordinating Council.

Dyan din sa Baguio, ipinag-utos ko na lumahok ang mga opisyal at kadete ng Philippine Military Academy sa mga gawaing pangtulong sa mga nasalanta at nangangailangan sa evacuation center ng Mansion House.

Kailangang salubungin natin ang mga pagbabago sa kapaligiran na dulot ng climate change. Inaasahan natin na sa madaling panahon mapapasa na ang panukalang batas na nagpapalawak at nagpapalakas sa kakayahang tugunan ang kalamidad ng pamahalaan, alang-alang sa ikaliligtas ng buhay at kabuhayan ng ating mga kababayan mula sa anupamang darating pang mga pinsala o kapahamakan.

Maraming salamat sa inyong lahat.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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