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Duterte, Go visit Legazpi City in Bicol

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President Rodrigo Duterte and Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go visited Legazpi City, Albay on Thursday to inspect and assess the extent of damages brought by Typhoon Tisoy in Bicol region.

The President convened a Situation Briefing on the effects of Typhoon Tisoy in Bicol region at the Legazpi City Convention Center in Albay on the same day.

Go, along with local officials in the Bicol region, Cabinet Secretaries and representatives from national government agencies and members of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) were present during the said briefing.

During the briefing, Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad, Administrator of the Office of the Civil Defense and NDRRMC Executive Director, reported that a large number of pre-emptive evacuations resulted in minimal casualties.

He also discussed the actions taken by the disaster response clusters, including the next steps to be undertaken by concerned agencies.

Duterte also commended the efforts of the local government units for their preparations before the typhoon made landfall.

“I think I will congratulate you for a job well done, the local officials,” the President said. Local officials of provinces affected by the typhoon have initially evacuated residents to evacuation areas for safety.

The President also commended the national agencies for their work before, during and after the typhoon. He called for the construction of storm shelters and asked agencies to submit damage assessment reports so that government could fund the rehabilitation needed to rebuild affected areas.

“The government agencies knew what to do before the typhoon hit. So, I am more than satisfied by the response,” the President said, adding that he assures the public that funds are available for rehabilitation.

The NDRRMC and its regional counterparts were instructed by the president to identify rehabilitation and recovery projects in the affected areas.

President Duterte directed the Department of Education to start immediate repair of damaged classrooms, the Department of Public Works and Highways to restore damaged road sections and bridges, the Department of Energy to continue restoration of power supply and the Department of Information and Communication Technology to immediately restore communication systems.

The President also told the Department of Interior and Local Government to intensify preparations of evacuation centers and enforcement of pre-emptive evacuation during times of disasters. He also instructed the Department of Transportation to institutionalize suspension protocols of public transport and cargo vehicles for anticipated weather disturbances.

Meanwhile, the President instructed the Department of Agriculture to provide assistance for affected farmers and fisherfolk, the Department of Social Welfare and Development to assist affected and most vulnerable families through cash or food for work programs, and the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development to provide housing assistance for those whose homes were damaged.

In response to the concerns of local government officials, the President committed to provide assistance for the construction of 2,000 housing units where they can relocate the residents of foreshore areas in Albay.

Moreover, in the interest of public safety, the President agreed to the suggestion of Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara to clear the trees along the highway that often render roads unpassable when uprooted by strong winds.

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