PGMA to hold cabinet meeting at the Iloilo airport

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo preside the NDCC Cabinet meeting at the Conference room of Iloilo Airport. (Photo by Jerry Carual / PCPO)
OP Tuesday, 01 July 2008

ILOILO CITY (PNA) – President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will hold the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) conference and cabinet meeting at the conference room of the new Iloilo airport instead of the earlier venue at the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) building here.

This was the confirmation made by Presidential Assistant for Western Visayas Raul Banias who has been doing the necessary coordination since Monday.

Banias said after a short welcome reception upon President Arroyo’s arrival at the airport around 11 a.m. Tuesday, she will immediately distribute relief goods to selected municipalities that were badly hit by the calamity.

“All her activities will be confined within the airport unless there are changes. Concerned local officials have been informed about the new schedule,” he said.

Thereafter, President Arroyo will proceed with the meeting and fly to Sibuyan Island at around 1:30 p.m.

The Chief Executive will again be back in Kalibo, Aklan after her Sibuyan Island trip.

“She will also distribute relief goods there and confer with Gov. Carlito Marquez and Mayor Reymar Rebaldo of Kalibo because these areas are also worst hit by the typhoon,” Banias said.

He said until now, Aklan, especially Kalibo, is a mess because the task of cleaning up the pile of accumulated debris ‘is an overwhelming task for them.’

As of the latest, however, Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Bayani Fernando, upon the request of President Arroyo, has already deployed 130 engineers and personnel and 35 heavy equipment now helping Kalibo. (PNA) LDV/AJP/PGL

7 agencies to update PGMA on gov't rescue and rehab efforts in Frank-devastated areas

(July 1, 2008) JOINT CABINET AND NDCC MEETING -- President Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo presides over the joint Cabinet and National Disaster Coordinating Council meeting at the Ilo-Ilo International Airport conference room to discuss the ongoing rehabilitation and relief efforts in typhoon-damaged areas of Panay Island. Also in photo are DOF Sec. Margarito Teves and DA Sec. Arthur Yap. (Photo by Exequiel Supera / NIB-OPS)
(PIA 2008/07/01)

Iloilo City (1 July) -- Seven government agencies will update President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in today's cabinet meeting here about government's ongoing rescue and rehabilitation efforts in typhoon Frank-devastated areas.

The agencies whose secretaries are lined up to give briefings are the Department of National Defense (DND), the Department of Agriculture (DA), the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the Department of Education (DepEd), the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the Department of Energy (DOE).

The Cabinet meeting shall be held at the second floor of the new Iloilo International Airport located at the tri-boundary of three Iloilo towns - Cabatuan, Sta. Barbara and Pavia - all inundated by the flash flood spawned by typhoon Frank two weekends ago.

Prior to the Cabinet meeting proper, the President will first preside in the same venue over a meeting of the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) - which will be aired live over the government's television station, NBN-4, and the government's radio station, Radyo ng Bayan; and over RPN-9 and IBC-13.

The President wants to visit evacuation centers in the typhoon-affected areas, and also hopes to attend a memorial mass for the typhoon victims in Romblon, according to Press Undersecretary for Operations and Media Relations Jose 'Joecap' Capadocia.

The President is also set to have an aerial inspection of the flooded areas around Iloilo; and then later in the day head towards Kalibo in Aklan to the northeast from here, also to check on the typhoon-affected areas and government's ongoing rescue and rehabilitation programs.

On the way to Aklan via Presidential chopper, the President could also view Frank's devastation of Antique which is nestled between Iloilo and Aklan.

A total of 213 kilometers of roads in the region have been destroyed by the super howler. Some 35 bridges which cost the government P1.2 billion were also been damaged, according to the DPWH regional office here. (PIA-MMIO)

PGMA orders DBM to provide funds for rehab efforts

President GloriaMacapagal Arroyo preside the NDCC Cabinet meeting at the Conference room of Iloilo Airport. Photo by Jerry Carual / PCPO
PIA 2008/07/01

Iloilo City (1 July) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo gave the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) the authority to evaluate performance of national government in order for it to be able to answer all needs of agencies involved in the rehabilitation efforts the government is doing for typhoon "Frank" victims especially in Panay.

President Arroyo, who presided over the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC)-Cabinet Meeting at the Iloilo Airport Conference Room, granted the request of DBM Secretary Rolando Andaya, in response to the budgetary requirements proposed by the Department of Public works and Highways (DPWH) and other agencies.

DPWH Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane said there are 35 bridges damaged in Western Visayas and seven of these need to be rehabilitated at the cost of Php1.427 billion.

Ebdane has requested for the initial amount of Php800 from the DBM to complete the work by end of July, which is estimated to cost Php750M.

He said they are giving priority to bridges over the road networks as long as the latter are passable at this point. The total cost of bridges damaged involved the amount of Php1,140,905,000.00, while that of the roads involved Php441,239,045.

The total infrastructure damages in Western Visayas is Php1,811,944,045.00, and the province of Iloilo got its share of Php1,215,900,000.

The DPWH has also been responding to requests for the removal of flood debris in different typhoon-stricken areas in Aklan and Iloilo, for health reasons as well as to facilitate easy clearing and cleaning. (PIA)

PGMA reminds govt agencies to update one another on status of relief work

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo presides over the joint Cabinet and National Disaster Coordinating Councel (NDCC) meeting at Ilo-Ilo Airport to discuss the ongoing rehabilitation and relief efforts in typhoon-damaged areas of Panay Island ( Tuesday, July 1, 2008). Also in photo are DPWH Sec. Hermogenes Ebdane, DTI Sec. Peter Fabela, DOF Sec. Margarito Teves, Executive Sec. Eduardo Ermita, DND Sec. Gilberto Teodoro, DOJ Sec. Raul Gonzalez, and DA Sec. Arthur Yap. The president is in Ilo-Ilo to conduct the distribution of relief goods to families affected of Typhoon Frank. (Photo by Exequiel Supera / OPS NIB)
OP Tuesday, 01 July 2008

ILOILO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT – President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo today reminded government agencies involved in rescue and relief work that they are mandated to compare notes on the status and progress of their relief operations every six hours to ensure proper coordination.

The President issued the reminder when she noted the wide variance in the estimated of the damage wrought by “Typhoon” Frank on school buildings and other government properties as presented by the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) and the Department of Education (DepEd).

In the absence of DepEd Secretary Jesli Lapus, a DepEd undersecretary reported that eight school districts in Iloilo suffered P679 million worth of damage. He added that the damage estimate was now “slightly higher” because reports from Region VI had just been updated, from P70 million damage to P237 million.

Asked about the discrepancy, the NDCC and the DepEd official replied that the DepEd collated the figures only yesterday.

The President lamented that “we always have different (figures) on DepE.”

The DepEd undersecretary promised the President that henceforth his department would “harmonize” its figures with those of the NDCC. He pointed out that DepEd had released P30 million for Region VI.

The President also reminded the DepEd that “double-shifting” has been a government policy since 2005.

“It is 2008 now… You have instructions. You have to exact compliance… If they don’t comply, there will be (classroom) shortage on the ground,” the President lamented.

This, when the DepEd reported that double-shifting of classes is enforced mostly in the metropolis.

PGMA mobililizes all available air/sea carriers for relief distribution

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo met with American soldier sent by President Bush to help the victims of typhoon and to assist AFP for the rescue and relief operation. (Photo by Jerry Carual / PCPO)
OP Tuesday, 01 July 2008

ILOILO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT – First, the presidential choppers. Now the presidential yacht.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo today ordered the use of the presidential yacht, ‘Ang Pangulo,’ for the distribution of relief goods to the typhoon-devastated areas around here.

The President ordered the use of the yacht during the Cabinet meeting that she presided this afternoon at the Conference Room here, what “with a lot of relief goods coming from all over…”

The President revealed that from Day One of the relief and rescue operations, the presidential choppers have in fact been utilized for flying relief goods. There are seven presidential choppers, according to a “bluebird” or a pilot of the Presidential Airlift Wing (PAW).

The President’s ordered the use of her official yacht as part of the rescue and relief efforts after reports that relief goods are piling up in the metropolis and need transport for distribution to the affected population.

The piling up of relief goods was revealed to mediamen by Defense Chief Gilberto Teodoro while waiting for the President’s arrival here. He would later report to the President during the Cabinet meeting that he had requested Transportation Secretary Leandro Mendoza to study the shortest and most cost-effective transports – both seacraft and aircraft -- and routes to bring the waiting relief goods to the waiting typhoon victims.

Mendoza, for his part, reported to the President that he had already called on the private cargo carriers and even the RORO operators (roll-on, roll-off) to help in the transport of relief goods.

Meanwhile, the Department of National Defense (DND) report on typhoon Frank revealed that the helicopters from the US Navy ships Stockton and Ronald Reagan have so far helped transport relief goods via 270 sorties now totaling 320 flying hours. The two ships’ choppers have so far lifted 432,463 kilos of relief goods, according to the DND report read by Armed Forces vice chief Cardozo Luna.

Meanwhile, the 3rd Infantry (Spearhead) Division of the Philippine Army (PA) revealed in its Disaster, Rescue & Relief Operations in Panay Island report that US Navy aircraft helped it in 115 of its total of 176 relief operations. The USN’s 115 operations with the 3rd ID consists of 69 operations to Aklan, 31 around Iloilo, nine to Capiz, and six to Antique.

PGMA to preside over joint Cabinet and NDCC meeting in Iloilo Tuesday
OPS June 29, 2008

ILOILO CITY – President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will preside over the joint Cabinet and National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) meeting on Tuesday here to discuss the ongoing rehabilitation and relief efforts in typhoon-damaged areas of Panay Island.

Before the start of the joint Cabinet-NDCC meeting at the NEDA compound in Fort San Pedro here, the President is also expected to conduct an aerial inspection of typhoon-affected areas in Iloilo province that include the towns of Cabatuan, Sta. Barbara and Pavia.

As of June 28, the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council (RDCC-6) has reported 322 deaths and 288 persons still missing mostly in Panay Island.

The RDCC reported that damage to property has reached P234.5 million, infrastructure at P1.53 billion, and agriculture at P1.38 billion.

Even while in the United States, the President has been issuing directives via video tele-conferences with her Cabinet members and NDCC officials to alleviate the damage wrought by Typhoon Frank in Region 6 including in the search and rescue efforts relative to MV Princess of the Stars which sank off the coast of Sibuyan island in Romblon.

The President has also expressed her gratitude to the United States which, at present, has stationed a naval vessel in Miag-ao and currently helping airlift relief goods to affected areas in the whole Panay Island.

PGMA to conduct aerial inspection of typhoon Frank-devastated areas of Iloilo Tuesday
OPS June 29, 2008

ILOILO CITY – President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is set to conduct an aerial inspection Tuesday of the areas devastated by typhoon Frank around here before presiding over the regular Tuesday Cabinet meeting at the regional offices of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) at the Fort San Pedro here.

The said Cabinet meeting was originally scheduled to be held in Digos City, Davao del Sur – which is celebrating its 41st founding anniversary -- but the President had the venue transferred here so she could have more time to inspect the damage wrought by howler Frank.

Internationally codenamed Fengshen for “god of the wind,” the super typhoon – which capsized the MV Princess of the Stars, the jewel vessel of Sulpicio Lines, in the rough waters off Romblon – also poured down double the normal rainfall here on that fateful weekend over June 20-22 (Friday to Sunday).

The President shall fly over the towns of Alimondian, Cabatuan, Sta. Barbara and Pavia.

From the Presidential chopper to be flown by Major Nelson Morales and Capt. Ignacio Ozar, President Arroyo shall see the wreckage of several bridges rendered impassable by Frank, including the President’s Bridge in Alimodian, and the Imelda Marcos Bridge in Cabatuan.

With the Imelda Marcos Bridge cut in half and the other half now submerged, this city and the surrounding towns have no potable/pipe water. This because the main pipe of the Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD), which used to cross over the bridge, went down with the now-destroyed bridge portion.

A flight simulation conducted this afternoon by the Presidential Airlift Wing (PAW) with Presidential Assistant for Region VI Dr. Raul Banas, Presidential Management Staff (PMS) regional team leader Ruby Plagata and the Presidential News Desk (PND) on board also showed several areas still mired in mud a week after the unexpected flooding of a wide area along the banks of the then swollen Iloilo River.

The regional office of Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) here revealed that a total of 254 millimeters of rainfall fell on Iloilo that weekend as compared to the normal monthly mean of 190 millimeters of rainfall in the area over a 24-hour period.

The DENR added that a 1.8-meter high tide -- compounded by the fact that Iloilo only has 16 percent “watershed vegetation” – caused the flash flood that will go down as the worst flood ever in Iloilo’s recent history.

As of yesterday, the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council (RDCC) for Western Visayas said a total 322 people died, 288 went missing, and 723 people were injured due to the strong rains and wind spawned by the super typhoon which caught residents unawares.

A total of P1.4 billion worth of agricultural produce were also laid to waste, while P1.5 billion worth of government infrastructure was destroyed, aside from P235 million worth of damage to private property in the region which covers Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Bacolod City and Iloilo City.