RP typhoon Frank aftermath situation bothers PGMA
as she starts her U.S. Visit
RP typhoon Frank aftermath situation bothers PGMA as she starts her U.S. Visit

OPS 22 JUNE 2008

SAN FRANCISCO – President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo today immediately buckled down to work as she called and reconvened the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) for her to be able to know firsthand information on the latest developments on the damage wrought by Typhoon “Frank” in Metro Manila and other provinces affected by the super typhoon.

The Chief Executive -- who is visibly concerned about the situation in the Philippines due to the super howler -- made this move shortly upon her arrival at the Presidential Suite of the Fairmont Hotel here where she is billeted.

The President, accompanied by First Gentleman Atty. Jose Miguel Arroyo and other members of her official delegation, arrived at the San Francisco International Airport at exactly 7:20 p.m. (San Francisco time) as she commenced the first leg of her 10-day, three state working visit to the United States.

Upon the President’s order, the NDCC immediately met at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City, together with Cabinet members, as well as action officers from concerned agencies.

Press Secretary Jesus Dureza said the President personally touched base with the NDCC officials through a teleconference at her suite in Fairmont Hotel in the presence of some Cabinet members led by Trade and Industry Secretary Peter Favila, Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya, Rep. Monico Puentebella, and himself, among others.

He added that the NDCC officials and concerned agency representatives gave the President “all the updates on the specific instructions she gave when she called for the NDCC meeting yesterday before leaving for the U.S.”

Dureza pointed out that the specific instructions of the President is to continue updating her on the developments of the super typhoon “kasi may mga areas pa na problemado.”

He cited that since Metro Manila is under typhoon Signal #3, the C-130 that could have carried life boats and other rescue materials was not able to take off.

Dureza noted that the President’s instruction “is to mount an operation center, logistic center there in Cebu, nearer to the area using the facilities that are available there in Cebu for the moment until we can mount our flights from Villamor Airbase.”

During the teleconference, Dureza said that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was so concerned about the reported Sulpicio vessel that capsized.

According to him, the President pointedly asked the Coast Guard representative whether there “were violations of notices issued to vessels and for them to look closely on how they could undertake more rescue operations now.”

“The report given to her was that one of the survivors was fished out quite far from the site where the (Sulpicio) vessel was supposed to have capsized. So they have now indicated a new area where they would start trying to make recovery operations with the coast guard.”

The Department of Agriculture (DA) also reported to the President that an initial 250,000 hectares were damaged by the super typhoon.

In this connection, Dureza said the President directed the DA to undertake continuous and increased distribution of assistance to the farmers for them to recover as soon as possible.

With the still bad condition of the power situation in the Visayas particularly in Panay with only two percent been renergized , Dureza said, the President instructed Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes to attend to this immediately.

The Red Cross, through Senator Richard Gordon, reported that it is already on the ground providing the necessary assistance.

Dureza also announced that the President will again hold another NDCC meeting though teleconferencing tomorrow (June 22) at 4: a.m. (Philippine time) to ensure that she will be able to continuously be informed on the latest situation in the Philippines.

“She would like to do this before she takes off for Washington DC tomorrow,” he said.

Asked whether the President would be cutting short her trip to the United States, Dureza said, “No, there’s no talk about cutting short her trip. That’s why she would like to continuously be hands-on here, kaya she’s getting the NDCC action as if she’s personally there in the area.”

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