At least P4-B needed for relief ops, rehab works in Mindanao quake-hit areas – NDRRMC

Robie de Guzman   •   November 7, 2019   •   471

Soldiers and rescue workers inspect a damaged hotel in the aftermath of a 6.5 magnitude earthquake, in Kidapawan city, Cotabato province, Philippines, 31 October 2019. EPA-EFE / CERILO EBRANO

MANILA, Philippines – The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) on Thursday said it needs at least P4-billion for the initial rehabilitation and reconstruction works in areas heavily-hit by recent earthquakes in Mindanao.

NDRRMC executive director Ricardo Jalad said they have already presented a recommendation to the President during a Cabinet meeting in Malacañang on Wednesday night.

The recommendation includes the sustainment of relief operations and fund requirements for reconstruction and rehabilitation works in quake-stricken municipalities.

Part of the fund will also be used to help local government units whose calamity funds have already been used up.

“Kasama na ‘yung mga initially identified reconstruction projects by DPWH. Not all of the amount of P4 billion is needed immediately,” Jalad told reporters in a briefing.

The NDRRMC chief, however, clarified that the said amount is still tentative as the exact amount for the necessary works will still be determined in the agency’s post-disaster assessment.

Jalad added that relief operations in evacuation centers by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) are still ongoing.

Other government agencies, including the Philippine Navy, also sent additional assets such as mobile kitchens, water treatment, and cargo trucks, to help in relief efforts.

Jalad also said they are now coordinating with concerned agencies regarding proposals on housing projects and relocation for families who lost their homes due to recent earthquakes.

Residents from identified danger zones as recommended by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) and Mines and Geosciences Bureau will be given priority in these projects, he added.   

“‘Yung project proposals sinisimulan pa lang… We should see the implementation of the project the soonest,” Jalad said.

Three strong earthquakes jolted parts of Mindanao last month. A magnitude 6.3 quake struck on Oct. 16, magnitude 6.6 on Oct. 29 and magnitude 6.5 on Oct. 31.

The epicenters of these tremors were traced in Tulunan town in Cotabato.

The NDRRMC said the number of fatalities from these powerful temblors has climbed to 28 while more than 400 people were injured. The quakes affected thousands of families and destroyed many structures. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

Malacañang reminds charity groups to coordinate with LGUs for relief ops after Jinggoy’s arrest

Marje Pelayo   •   May 5, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang has reiterated its call on humanitarian groups to coordinate first with local government units (LGUs) before conducting relief operations especially when the government is implementing strict protocols in relation to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. 

The reminder comes after the arrest of former Senator Jinggoy Estrada for allegedly violating the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) when he distributed goods to the people of San Juan City.

Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque stressed President Rodrigo Duterte’s plea to set aside politics while the country is battling COVID-19.

“Nakikiusap po kami doon sa mga nais magkawanggawa na makipag-coordinate po tayo sa LGUs dahil doon sa pagbibigay ng ayuda sa ating mga kababayan, kinakailangan pong magkaroon ng safeguards nang hindi po magkumpol-kumpulan at dagsain kayo ng taumbayan [We ask humanitarian missions to coordinate with the LGUs because there must be safeguards in relief operations to make sure that people will not crowd the relief distribution],” Roque stressed.

Kinakailangang magkaroon ng hakbang upang masigurado ang social distancing habang namimigay ng ayuda [There must be protocols to make sure that social distancing is observed during relief distribution],” he added.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) explained that the former senator did not coordinate with San Juan City LGU in his relief operations which led to his arrest. 

According to DILG Secretary Eduardo Año, Estrada and his team are not even considered authorized persons outside of residence.

Nakita ko sa video may mga pagsuway sa physical distancing [I saw in the video that there were violations of social distancing protocols],” the official said.

Pati ang mga seniors at saka minors ay lumabas din ng bahay. Another pagsaway na naman iyon [Even seniors and minors went out of their houses. That’s another violation],” he added.

Though they understand the former lawmaker’s intention to help, Año said that does not exempt him from following strict ECQ guidelines. 

“Kung kaaway naman niya ang LGU, pwede naman ang OCD [If he’s in conflict with the LGU, he can go straight to the (Office of the Civil Defense)],” Secretary Año said.

Ibigay mo ang gusto mong ipamigay doon, and let OCD do its job dahil may mga ahensya naman sa ilalim niyan [You distribute goods there and let the OCD do its job as there are agencies under it that can assist you],” he added.

But Estrada maintained he did not violate any law but instead, local politics had a hand in his arrest. 

“Why are they singling me out? Just because I am an Estrada? Bawal na ba kaming tumulong dito sa [Are we banned from helping the people of] San Juan?” Estrada said. 

“Noon pa lang sinasabi niya na huwag tutulungan ang mga rolling store namin [Even back then he discouraged others from helping our rolling stores] So, you expect me to get a fair shake? I don’t think so,” he added.

However, Mayor Francis Zamora denied the allegation reiterating that Estrada violated the ECQ protocols.

Zamora noted that he even granted a one-day permit to the former senator’s daughter, former San Juan Vice Mayor Janella Estrada when she requested a permit for their rolling drugstore.

Zamora maintained that the arrest of Estrada had nothing to do with politics but with law and order especially amid the coronavirus pandemic wherein strict measures must be observed. 

The Estrada clan is the archrival of the Zamoras in San Juan City.

Estrada was later released from the San Juan Police Station. MNP (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

DILG tightens policy for relief operations by private donors

Marje Pelayo   •   April 27, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Humanitarian groups will not be able to mobilize relief operations unless they secure a certification from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), according to its new policy.

This is after reports that several private donors were using relief operations as excuse to slip past government checkpoints.

According to DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, authorities at checkpoints had some relief donors arrested for hanging banners with messages ‘Do Not Delay’ or ‘Relief Operation’ just to escape police inspection.

Malaya also stressed that the food pass issued by the Department of Agriculture (DA) is not allowed for other purposes such as relief operations. 

Niliwanag na po ito ng Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Dar na hindi po pwedeng gamitin ang food pass para sa relief operations, (DA Secretary Dar has clarified that food passes should not be used for relief operations),” he said.

“Ang mga food pass po ay para lamang sa movement ng farm products from the farm to the market, (Food passes can only be used for movement of farm products from the farm to the market),” he added.

To address the matter, the DILG has imposed additional policy of requiring organizations or individuals to get a certification from the local government unit (LGU) of the site for relief distribution before they move to action.

For example po, kung gusto niyo po magsagawa ng relief operation sa Taguig ay kailangan pong humingi ng certification mula sa city hall o kaya naman ay kay Mayor Cayetano,” Malaya explained.

(If you want to do relief operation in Taguig, for example, you need to get certification from the city hall or from Mayor [Lino] Cayetano.)

Ito po ang ipapakita ninyo sa mga kapulisan sa mga checkpoints. Kapag meron po kayo nito, papadaanin po kayo sa checkpoints, hindi na kayo mahihirapan,” he added.

(You will need to present the certification to the police at checkpoints. Once you have it, you will be allowed to go through easily.)

The new policy is expected to minimize, if not stop, abuse against persons in authority and to ensure that health protocols such as strict social distancing measures are observed.

The directive will also hasten checkpoint screenings and will help authorities easily identify if the relief operation is legitimate and not a ploy. MNP (with inputs from Vincent Arboleda)

PH Navy distributes sacks of rice to residents of Baseco Compound

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 15, 2020

The Philippine Navy (PN) ensures its commitment to support the government’s efforts in addressing the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID19) crisis.

The Navy said it distributed sacks of rice to residents of Baseco Compound in Tondo, Manila on Sunday (April 12).

“The PNs special operators utilized four inflatable boats to thread the Pasig River and distribute sacks of rice to 260 families settling in the area using 10-foot pole hooks to extend their reach,” the Philippine Navy said in a statement.

Fleet commander Rear Adm. Loumer Bernabe said the Philippine Navy will continue to support the government in its effort to aid citizens affected by the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

“The whole PN assets are readily available to help aid the government in its effort to address the impact of this COVID19 in the country. We will continue to fight this unseen enemy and serve our kababayans in this crisis,” he said. AAC

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