MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte spent his All Saints' Day attending to relief and recovery operations following the onslaught of Typhoon Rosita (intenational name Yutu) in Northern Luzon.
On Thursday afternoon, November 1, Duterte did an aerial survey of areas buried in earth and debris following landslides in the Benguet and Mountain Province area.
In the evening, Duterte led a situation briefing in Cauayan City, Isabela, attended by local government executives, local disaster officials, and national officials.
Also present were some of his Cabinet members like Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar, Health Secretary Francisco Duque, and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello II.
Duterte told the room he was satisfied with the government's handling of the storm's effects.
"I am satisfied with the response of government. Everyone is here and I think everyone is doing his duty. I'd like to thank you for that," he said.
He expressed worry over missing persons, especially those still buried in the Department of Public Works and Highways building in Natonin, Mountain Province.
During the briefing, he was told that 14 persons have died from Rosita's effects, which include landslides and flooding.
Villar, in his presentation said 18 roads in Cordillera still need to be cleared of debris while 7 roads need to be cleared in Region 2.
"The most important thing really is to return to normalcy and that would mean the clearing of the roads and 'yung mga tao doon (and the people there), and they are given shelter outside the line of fire," he said.
Villar said the government would have to build a new bridge in place of the damaged Siffu Bridge in Roxas, Isabela.
Duterte also stressed the need to provide affected persons with a source of income, especially farmers who lost their crops.
Bello responded by saying he has already ordered the provision of "emergency employment." – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at email@example.com.