CAUAYAN, Isabela – President Rodrigo R. Duterte ordered all government agencies responsible for relief and rehabilitation to fastrack the crafting and implementation of early recovery programs for the calamity-stricken areas in Northern Luzon, especially the isolated areas of Natonin, Mountain Province, that was ravaged by landslides triggered by the onslaught of Tropical Storm Rosita last Tuesday.
Duterte, together with Isbela Gov. Faustino Dy, Jr., Mountain Province Gov. Bonifacio Lacwsan, Jr., and other Cabinet officials, conducted an aerial inspection of the area where the buried structure of the Department of Public Works and Highways – Second Mountain Province District Engineering Office (DPWH-SMPDEO) was located before holding a closed-door meeting here.
“I believe that we have met the standards of response with what happened. I am impressed on how we were able to respond to the problem but we have to continue working extra hard to free the areas from isolation,” President Duterte stressed.
The Chief Executive also granted the request of Gov. Lacwasan to maximize the utilization of the government’s air assets to deliver to Natonin town the needed food and relief supplies the soonest considering that the food supply in the fourth class town will not last long if the locality remains isolated for several days.
Lacwasan expressed his gratitude to the President for allowing him to join his official party for the conduct of the aerial inspection wherein he was able to brief him on the status of the on-going search and rescue operation and the clearing of the numerous landslides that impeded the smooth delivery of supplies to town proper.
Duterte underscored the importance of having sufficient supply of food and water not only for the residents in the town’s 11 barangays but also for the over 300 rescuers who are working double time to retrieve the bodies of the individuals who were trapped under the rubbles of the ravaged structure.
The President assured local officials that there are sufficient funds to bankroll the activities that will be included in the early recovery program that will be crafted to allow the immediate rehabilitation of the areas that were devastated by the weather disturbance.
He emphasized that what is important is for the government to be able to immediately attend to the basic needs of the calamity victims before the implementation of major rehabilitation and recovery programs that will be lodged with the agencies responsible for the implementation of whatever activities that will be crafted for the rehabilitation of the affected areas.
President Duterte claimed that it is unfortunate that Northern Luzon was struck by two successive strong weather disturbances in a span of over a month that virtually dampened the resilience of the affected population but he assured that government will always be around to extend the needed assistance to allow the speedy recovery of the calamity-stricken areas in the different parts of Northern Luzon.