President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday pledged to build about 2,000 shelters to relocate families living along foreshore areas in Albay province following the onslaught of Typhoon Tisoy (international name Kammuri).
Duterte made this commitment after Albay Gov. Al Francis Bichara bared that several houses along the coastline have been heavily damaged by the typhoon.
“I think we should start relocating them in a nearby place pero (but) we should not allow them to be in the foreshore areas. We need to enforce this,” Bichara told the President in a situation briefing in Legazpi City.
“Look at other countries, sa foreshore, walang nakatira e. Dito ang hirap e. Right now, washed out sila. The next day, tatayo ulit mga bahay. So pagdating ng bagyo, ganun din ang mangyayari (nobody lives there. Right now, they’re washed out. The next day, they’ll put up their houses. So when the typhoon comes, the same thing will happen),” he added.
Acknowledging how the Bicol Region is among the most disaster-prone areas, the President said he commiserated with Bicolanos who bore the brunt of the typhoon’s wrath.
“Apparently you are condemned to suffer this kind of crisis every now and then you know, even before the climate change which made it really worse,” Duterte said.
“I can commit about 2,000 but we have to look for a new site kasi pag ganun hindi papayag ang NHA na (because if that’s the case the National Housing Authority will not allow it if it is) still in the danger zone,” he added.
Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, meanwhile, suggested to implement no-build zones along coastal areas.
“We can actually implement the no-build zone observance, meaning to say 40 meters from the shoreline should be a no-build zone but we have to prepare the relocation sites of these affected families,” Año said.
“I think it is about time really to implement that especially the eastern seaboard where we are visited by at least at the average 16 to 20 typhoons a year it would be more economical if we relocate these families living within the 40 meters…it should be a holistic approach together with the other agencies especially the NHA,” he added.
‘More than satisfied’
Duterte said he is “more than satisfied” with the performance of government in responding to victims of the typhoon.
“Apparently the government agencies knew what to do before the typhoon hit landfall–what it did during the entire crisis and after. So I am more than satisfied by the response,” Duterte said.
“I do not have to give any critique because I said everyone knew what to do before, during, and after. (I am) more than satisfied with the performance of government,” he added.
The President also asked concerned government agencies to immediately submit their assessment reports to allow government to shell out calamity funds.
“Always, after a calamity, after all has been said and done, it’s always a question of money,” Duterte said.
“I will advise you accordingly kung kailan darating ang pera (when the money will be available). I’m sure there is always money for that and for all these things happening now. The only thing is how fast. Wala kayong problema sa’kin (You have no problem with me) because I am a very impatient person,” he added.
National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) executive director Ricardo Jalad reported that the typhoon left at least 13 dead and some PHP2.6 billion in infrastructure and agricultural damaged.
Jalad assured that concerned government agencies continue to assist in the evacuation, prepositioning of relief goods, and provide for other needs of residents displaced by the typhoon. (PNA)