Providing shelter to victims of typhoon Nona (international codename: Melor) will be the priority of government, Malacañang said on Wednesday.
Palace Communications secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the immediate priority is providing shelter because many houses were destroyed “totally and partially.”
Families who lost their homes will initially be given tents and later construction materials to enable them to rebuild their homes.
Coloma said the second priority is power restoration.
“The target of the Energy department is to be able to restore power right away,” he told reporters.
“In Northern Samar, it is estimated that about 80 percent of all the electric posts were knocked down. So hindi ganun kadali pero sisikaping maibalik ‘yung kuryente sa lalong madaling panahon para magkaroon naman sila ng maliwanag na Kapaskuhan (It will not be an easy task but we will try to restore electricity so that residents will also have a bright Christmas),” he said in a late afternoon press briefing.
Coloma added that President Benigno Aquino 3rd had been briefed about the extent of the damage.
“There was a meeting among the Cabinet secretaries, DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) Secretary (Rogelio Singson), Chairperson of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Committee Chito Cruz, Budget Secretary Butch Abad, and representative of (Social Welfare) Secretary (Corazon) Soliman. What was discussed is to implement the President directives to give immediate relief to the victims of Typhoon Nona,” he said.
Coloma said government has ample funds to bankroll the relief and rehabilitation operations.
“According to Secretary Abad, we still have a balance of more than P4 billion in the calamity fund and savings of at least P6 billion more that can be used for relief and rehabilitation purposes. And in the 2016 budget which is expected to be approved soon, there is a provision of P19 billion in the calamity fund,” he said.