During the situation briefing, Pres. Duterte was quoted as saying “Those we call in the unforeseen events, in insurance, this is an act of God. I don’t know how it can be an act of God but that is the term used by the insurance,” he added.
The casualties of Bagyong Ompong was reported by Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs Francis Tolentino who said that at least 25 people died at the height of the typhoon, many of them during landslides but despite the casualties, Tolentino reported to Pres. Duterte that the readiness of the LGUs has reduced the impact of the typhoon that hit Northern Luzon last Saturday. Francis Tolentino was designated by Pres. Duterte as his point person during Ompong.
Aside from condoling with the victims of Bagyong Ompong, the President also commended all national and LGU officials, including his Cabinet men from Luzon whom he sent to their home province particularly in Cagayan and Isabela to personally monitor the typhoon.
“It’s good we had time to meet the Office of Civil Defense, advantage of being here right from the start,” he said. “For the moment, I did not doubt your presence here Secretary (Silvestre) Bello and Art (Tugade). I’m very pleased with the report.”
The President also assured Filipinos that the government is present in every calamity after he directed all concerned government agencies to make sure that normalcy is restored “as soon as possible” by starting immediately all rehabilitation and repair works in the areas hardest hit by Bagyong Ompong.
Duterte also instructed his Cabinet men to attend to damaged public utilities, particularly those on electricity and water, as well as bridges.
National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Chairman and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the council has a balance of PHP2.3 billion and some PHP13 billion from the contingency fund that requires the President’s approval for typhoon-affected areas.
“Just make sure that there is no corruption,” Duterte reminded his officials. “We’ll follow the rules how to spend the remaining money to help the residences.”
DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade, who monitored the typhoon in his home province of Cagayan, reported that damage to transportation infrastructure is minimal at PHP30 million to PHP35 million. This prompted Pres. Duterte to instruct Tugade to purchase reserve x-ray machines.
Meanwhile, Department of Social and Welfare and Development (DSWD) Acting Secretary Virginia Orogo assured enough supplies of relief goods for typhoon-hit areas.
“Our regional office has prepared PHP2.2 million worth of rice and canned goods,” Orogo said in a separate press briefing moderated by Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.
From Tuguegarao, Duterte proceeded to Ilocos Norte to also check the damage left behind by the typhoon. The President of the Republic said he is also set to visit the Cordillera region, particularly Baguio City, on Monday.
Watch the Press Briefing in Ilocos Norte Attended by Pres. Duterte: