PH gov't to release P2 billion for disaster response in Visayas, Mindanao

Typhoon-ravaged areas in Visayas and Mindanao to receive around P2 billion from the PH gov't to help them recover. Photo: Presidential Communications/PIA

MANILA — The Duterte administration has committed to releasing approximately P2 billion to typhoon-devastated areas in the Visayas and Mindanao to assist them in recovering from Typhoon Odette's onslaught this week.

"I can release more or less 2 billion. So this amount will be divided among all the areas that were hit by the typhoon. We'll see if we can release it sooner. I can promise you this," President Rodrigo Roa Duterte said during a Sunday morning situation briefing in Maasin City, Southern Leyte.

"It's worth billions, but it's not actually enough to cover the devastation. If you were to help everyone in one area and make reparations for the damage, that amount wouldn't suffice. But with that amount, you can divide it amongst yourselves."

According to the President, local governments in the hardest-hit areas can use the funds to address immediate needs before addressing other damages.

President Duterte also assured the populace that national government assistance would arrive, but he pleaded for patience as his administration prepared to release government assistance.

"Just give us a bit more time because if you're from the government, there'll be plenty of paperwork," he said. "For every move you make, there's a layer of papers that are… This is the way it is with the government. And if you try to rush things, there'll be some problems."

Additionally, there is little allocation remaining because it is the end of the year. PRRD explained that a significant portion of the government's savings was used for COVID-19 interventions, adding that he has requested a meeting with budget officials to discuss the issue.

Apart from meeting with Leyte officials to assess the damage and discuss necessary interventions, President Duterte oversaw the distribution of relief supplies and cash assistance to typhoon victims in the province.

Typhoon Odette is one of the most powerful tropical cyclones to make landfall in Southern Leyte this year. Last Thursday afternoon, the typhoon made its third landfall in the province, with maximum sustained winds of 195kph (kilometers per hour) and gustiness of up to 270kph.

President Duterte also met with Surigao del Norte and Dinagat Islands local government officials in Siargao City to assess the typhoon's impact on the province and determine what assistance the national government can provide.

The weather disturbance caused widespread flooding across Mindanao and Visayas, displacing thousands of families and individuals and severely damaging critical infrastructure in its path. (PND/PRESS RELEASE)
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