Pili, Camarines Sur – Just as soon as Christmas Day typhoon Nina left the Philippine territory and even before local residents could clear the streets of fallen trees and blown roofs, President Rody Duterte flew to two of the most devastated provinces in the Bicol Region – Catanduanes and Camarines Sur – and vowed immediate rehabilitation efforts with an initial commitment of P500-million for agriculture and fisheries.The President arrived in Virac, Catanduanes at past 2 p.m. straight from Davao City and was joined by five Cabinet secretaries – Agriculture, Social Welfare, Energy, Education and Defense – and several undersecretaries in a short ceremony in the provincial capitol of Catanduanes in Virac town.
In Virac, President Duterte approved the allocation by the Dept. of Agriculture of P55-M for the immediate rehabilitation of the Abaca industry of Catanduanes, the release of rice seeds and fertilisers for about 5,000 hectares and the repair of fisheries instrastructure.
Typhoon Nina damaged 85% of the standing Abaca of Catanduanes which at 33,000 hectares is the biggest single producer of the natural fibre in the world today.
From Virac, President Duterte flew by helicopter to Pili, Camarines Sur where local officials led by Governor Miguel Villafuerte met him at the provincial capitol for a short ceremony.
The President initially committed P50-M in rehabilitation funds and seeds and fertilisers for the estimated 21,000 hectares of damaged rice farms.WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW:
But after his speech, when I showed him the updated report which was submitted to me while he was already speaking which indicated that the damage to agriculture and fisheries alone could reach P3-B, President Duterte said he was increasing his commitment to P500-M.
Of the amount, P300-M will come from the President’s funds while the remaining P200-M will be sourced from the funds of the Dept. of Agriculture.
“I hope you could recover your bearing,” the President told the crowd which gathered in front of the Camarines Sur Provincial Capitol even as he urged local officials to be conscious of the threats of climate change.
The President suggested that since the Bicol Region faces threats of typhoons being the country’s first window facing the Pacific Ocean, people must learn to adapt.
He suggested that houses must have sturdy designs to withstand strong winds adding that “This is a reality which we must accept.”
“Do not despair. Government will help. Life must go on. Recover your bearings,” he told the crowd.
The President flew back to Davao City just before dark while the members of the Cabinet took an Air Force plane back to Metro Manila.
Today will be another working day. | Manny Piñol
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