President Benigno Aquino III yesterday assured full support and financial assistance to victims of Typhoon “Sendong” in Negros Oriental in a meeting with key officials of government agencies and local government units at the Dumaguete City Airport.
Aquino said the Philippines has P1.17 billion in calamity funds. In the briefing, director Minda Morante of the Office of the Civil Defense Region 7, told the president that Negros Oriental was the worst-hit among Central Visayas provinces, more than Cebu, Bohol and Siquijor.
Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Dinky Soliman said that as of 11 a.m. Monday, the national government had given P2.207 million in food and clothing assistance with P4.519 million to be distributed to the 10 affected towns and cities of Negros Oriental.
A total of 4,218 houses in Valencia, Dumaguete, Sibulan, Bacong, Amlan and Pamplona, among others, were detroyed, while 3,268 houses were damaged, said Soliman.
Assistance of at least P70,000 will be given to each family whose house was destroyed, while a minimum P5,000 in emergency shelter assistance will be given to the families whose houses house were damaged, she added.
Aquino said government aid to Typhoon Sendong-stricken areas are from “pre-positioned stocks in anticipation of the storm”. He also assured that apart from the Quick Release Fund already downloaded to the Department of Public Works and Highways in Region 7 for the repair of the Tanjay Bridge, the national government will allocate funds for the repair of the bridge that was rendered impassable after Saturday's onslaught by Typhoon Sendong.
Aquino also said that aside from the P1.17 billion calamity fund of the national government, the country can source funds for disaster relief and rehabilitation, and that at least seven countries have already offered aid to Sendong victims.
Latest figures from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council placed the death toll at 37, with 247 persons injured and 17 still missing in Negros Oriental.
About 10,000 were affected by the typhoon.
Badly hit was the town of Valencia that hosts the Palinpinon geothermal power plants of the Energy Development Corporation, Mayor Ricky Gonzalez told the President.
Gonzalez also said that damage to infrastructure and other properties was estimated at P200 million.
Key regional and local officials, Governor Roel Degamo, and some mayors of the towns and cities affected by Typhoon Sendong, attended the briefing.
Aquino also accommodated a few questions from the media in a random but brief press conference before he flew back to Manila with some members of his Cabinet shortly after 4 p.m. yesterday.
The President was provided hard copies of official reports of data gathered by various government agencies on the devastation left by Typhoon Sendong in Negros Oriental.*JFP
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