Panay Island Elicits Quick Emergency Response

Panay Island Elicits Quick Emergency Response

PIA 2008/06/27

Roxas City (27 June) -- President George Bush has quickly responded to the request of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for assistance in the aftermath of the typhoon, particularly in the Island of Panay by dispatching the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan to the Philippines, along with one cruiser, three destroyers and one frigate and other supporting vessels.

The vessels will assist in transporting cargo, aerial damage assessment, search and rescue, production and delivery of potable water, medical assistance and machinery repair.

The USS Ronald Reagan, a Nimitz-class nuclear-powered supercarrier in the service of the United States Navy, is the ninth ship in her class and is the Navy's newest aircraft carrier and has a displacement of about 97,000 metric tons. She is named in honor of former President Ronald Reagan.

President Arroyo proceeded to Washington, June 25 to meet with US President Bush as the major leg of her US state visit.

When she arrived in Washington, the President said President Bush also sent the USNS Stockholm, two helicopters, a P-3 marine surveillance aircraft and US Navy divers to help in the rescue and recovery effort, including victims of the sunken MV "Princess of the Stars" of Sulpicio Lines.

President Arroyo assured the Filipino community in Washington that she is completely engaged "on a minute to minute basis" in the rescue, relief and rehabilitation efforts in the Philippines in the wake of "Typhoon" Frank widespread damage in the Philippines.

She pointed out that she had been calling disaster coordinating council meetings almost daily, as she shrugged off calls for her to cut short her working visit to the United States and return home to oversee the rescue and relief efforts.

We have been coordinating disaster relief and aid from allies here in Washington and everywhere else," the President told the Filipino community.

She has mobilized the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) since then to visit and provide relief assistance to typhoon-stricken areas including Panay Island.

On June 26, Vice President Noli De Castro led the core team composed of Social Secretary Esperanza Cabral and Health Secretary Franciscon Duque III to deliver emergency cash assistance, family food and clothing packs, water, drugs and medicines and purifying solutions for typhoon victims in the provinces of Aklan, Antique and Capiz through their respective provincial governments. with them also was Presidential Assistant for Western Visayas Raul N. Banias.

Capiz Senator Manuel A. Roxas was also able to convince the national government to prioritize his home-province and other Panay Island provinces in the delivery of relief assistance. Roxas accompanied the team in their province-hopping sorties.

Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes was also here a day earlier to assess the power situation in the island and to hand out a P5-million financial assistance to the Capiz Electric Cooperative, Inc. (CAPELCO) to ensure the immediate restoration of power here.

The province was without power at the height of the typhoon until it was partially restored by CAPELCO late afternoon of June 22 courtesy of the 15-megawatt modular power plant that was established by the National Power Corporation (NPC) at the National Transmission Corporation (TRANSCO) Sub-Station in Barangay Timpas in Panitan town, situated about 18 kilometers from this city.

CAPELCO General Manager Engr. Edgar Diaz told Vice President De Castro during a briefing at the Provincial Capitol, June 26 that power would be restored in the province over the weekend.

During the reception, Filipinos based in Washington chipped in more than P100, 000 as their "initial" contribution to the typhoon relief operations back home.

"We are doing everything possible to aid in the cleanup, provide disaster relief, and bring comfort to the families of the victims. We are holding the ferry company accountable, to ensure that we find out how this ferry tragedy could have occurred, so that we can take steps to make sure it never happens again," President Arroyo said.

She expressed her gratitude to President Bush for the US government's quick response to President Arroyo's request for help.

She thanked the Filipino kababayans for their remittances which have "immensely contributed to the growing Philippine economy."

The USS Ronald Reagan is moving into Panay Island through Aklan and Antique waters in order to deliver what President Bush has committed as the US government's immediate response to President Arroyo's request for help in the aftermath of Typhoon "Frank." (PIA-JSC) - Timeline 2008