Mar Roxas in Borongan for Typhoon Ruby preparations

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Mar Roxas in Borongan for Typhoon Ruby preparations
The DILG chief, also the NDRRMC’s vice chairman for disaster preparedness, goes to Borongan, Eastern Samar, where Typhoon Ruby is expected to make landfall

MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATED) Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Manuel Roxas II flew to Borongan, Eastern Samar on Friday, December 5, the day before Typhoon Ruby (Hagupit) is set to make landfall in the country.

Ruby is expected to make landfall in the area of Eastern Samar and Northern Samar by Saturday evening. (READ: Typhoon Ruby: 47 provinces at ‘high risk’)

In a statement, the DILG said Roxas would “help ensure that local government units (LGUs) are prepared when Typhoon Ruby makes landfall.” (READ: Millions evacuate as Ruby bears down on PH)

Roxas will be staying in the Eastern Visayas area until after Ruby makes landfall, the DILG said in a Saturday, December 6 statement.

While in Borongan, Roxas had led coordination meetings between Eastern Samar Governor Conrado Nicart Jr., Vice Governor Ferdinand Picardal, Eastern Samar Representative Ben Evardone and Quezon City Representative Kit Belmonte.

Also with Roxas is Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Edwin Lacierda.

PREPAREDNESS. DILG chief Mar Roxas (center) joins coordination meetings between officials in Borongan, Eastern Samar on December 5, 2014. Photo by the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office

Roxas, as DILG chief, is also the vice chairman for preparedness of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Council (NDRRMC).

On Thursday, December 4, President Beningo Aquino III pressed national agencies and LGUs to prepare well for Ruby. (READ: Typhoon Ruby: Aquino won’t accept excuses)

The DILG chief said in an earlier NDRRMC council meeting that some 50 out of 80 provinces will be affected by Ruby, which is set to make landfall on Saturday, December 6.

Northern Leyte and Eastern Samar, according to government scientists, will experience heavy rainfall and storm surges up to 4 meters high when Ruby hits.

Ruby is expected to be the strongest storm to hit the Philippines this year.

It will affect many areas still reeling from the effects of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), which devastated Eastern Visayas and nearby areas in 2013.

Roxas was also in the region, alongside Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, when Yolanda made landfall. Hours after the storm made landfall they could not be reached after communication and power lines were cut. They had forgotten to bring a satellite phone.

Neither Roxas and Gazmin could immediately secure a satellite phone at that time. The two eventually tracked one down a few hours after Yolanda made landfall.

The next time a disaster hits, bringing a satellite phone will be one of his priorities, Roxas told Rappler in an earlier interview. – Bea Cupin/

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