Reopened road ‘major breakthrough’ for ‘Pablo’ relief efforts

Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel 'Mar' Roxas says the reopening of the Compostela-Cateel road expedites the delivery of relief goods and aid to thousands of 'Pablo' victims

OBLITERATED TOWN. A resident rides his ramshackle bike through the debris in Cateel. Photo by Karlos Manlupig

MANILA, Philippines – The Compostela-Cateel road reopened Thursday, December 13, after it closed due to Typhoon “Pablo” and rendered the most hard-hit towns in Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental inaccessible.

Since the typhoon, relief goods and aid workers have entered the towns through air and sea due to the closed road. The other route, the bridge connecting the coastal towns of Baganga and Caraga town, also collapsed. The damage made it nearly impossible to get to the most devastated areas.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas called the road’s availability “a major breakthrough.”

“Although this route takes 3½ hours to four hours to reach Cateel from Davao City, this is by far the only available land route where dump trucks and ten-wheeler trucks can pass at the moment because the bridge connecting Baganga from Caraga, which is the shortest way, has collapsed,” Roxas said.

He added that the road expedites the delivery of much needed food, medicine and clothing by land to thousands of victims.

“Now we have a viable lifeline that will enable rescue and relief workers to reach and provide much-needed assistance to the typhoon victims,” Roxas said.

“Hopefully, the faster flow of relief goods and medicines will alleviate the pain and suffering of our countrymen.”

Meanwhile, Roxas said the 154,000 members of the Philippine National Police voluntarily agreed to donate P50 each to victims of Pablo, a donation that totals P7.7 million.

As of Thursday morning, 902 people were reported dead from the typhoon that battered Mindanao. –

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