• Gov’t working to mitigate storm impact

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    THE government, particularly the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), remains on red alert after the onslaught of Typhoon Lando, which inundated several towns and cities in Central Luzon and Northern Luzon over the weekend.

    “Everyone has been working together to ensure that our response efforts are timely and effective. The NDRRMC remains on red alert and continues to supervise rescue and relief operations,” Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda said on Monday.

    President Benigno Aquino 3rd visited the town of Santa Rosa in Nueva Ecija province also on Monday to personally assess the damage wrought by the storm.

    Malacañang also on Monday said about 197,000 family food packs have been provided to typhoon-affected areas as concerned government agencies and units work continuously to ensure public safety and mitigate damage from Lando.

    Lacierda said as of midnight of Sunday, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has made available a total of P1.17 billion in stand-by funds and P158.16 million worth of food and non-food items.

    He added that Philippine National Police (PNP) regional office personnel have been deployed to deliver food packs and assist in evacuation centers, while the Philippine Coast Guard has directed its frontline units to ready all response assets for possible deployment.

    The Palace official said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has been coordinating with local government units (LGUs) and Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils (LDRRMCs) to monitor landslide and flood-prone areas for preemptive evacuation.

    The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has pre-positioned heavy equipment to hazard-prone areas in the affected regions.

    Lacierda noted that all these measures are being done in close coordination with other agencies such as the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Energy (DOE).

    Price monitoring
    Trade Undersecretary Victorio Mario Dimagiba also on Monday said the supply and prices of goods in affected areas remain stable.

    Dimagiba held an emergency meeting with food manufacturers to assess supply and prices of basic goods, particularly in Northern Luzon and Central Luzon.

    According to Sardine Association of the Philippines president Cezar Cruz, the sardine industry’s eight-month minimum supply could last until year-end and that prices of sardine products remain unchanged.

    Noodle manufacturer and distributor Monde Nissin, on the other hand, said supplies and prices of noodles were stable as the typhoon spared the firm’s facilities in Luzon. But Nissin added that the company might encounter delivery problems in areas where roads were impassable.

    Bread manufacturer Gardenia noted that the company was able to deliver supplies to Cagayan, Isabela and La Union over the weekend and to Ilocos province on Monday morning.

    Delivery of bread is normal apart from Nueva Ecija and Pangasinan where delivery trucks were stranded by floods, Gardenia said.

    Canned meat producer San Miguel said its inventories in Luzon were sufficient, provided that there would be no panic-buying incidents.

    The company said three delivery trucks were en route to Isabela and Nueva Vizcaya to deliver supplies.

    Nestle Philippines said its stocks of coffee and milk products in storm-hit areas were adequate.

    It, however, failed to deliver supplies in Nueva Ecija and Aurora as some roads there were impassable.

    Snow Mountain Dairy said the company’s inventories in their depots were enough for one a half month’s supply while its distributors’ inventory can cover almost one month.

    The company added that inventory in depots and distributors was sufficient to cover any surge in demand.

    The Trade department said its regional and provincial offices would continue to monitor supplies and prices of basic goods.

    Free calls, phone charging
    Telco giant Smart Communications also on Monday announced that it has deployed free call and charging stations to areas hit by the typhoon.

    “Libreng Tawag” services are ongoing at Calanasan Terminal (Centro 3, Claveria) and Barangay Hall (Centro 10, Tuguegarao City) in Cagayan; San Vicente Barangay Hall in Ilagan, Isabela; and at the evacuation center located at the office of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council in Lagawe, Ifugao.

    Telecoms Sans Frontieres, an international NGO specializing in emergency telecommunications, has also volunteered and is on stand-by to offer free calls in partnership with Smart.

    To facilitate faster coordination of relief efforts, Smart also provided satellite phones to the Social Welfare department.

    It has also made available free charging of mobile phone batteries in the following cell sites in Nueva Ecija: Barangay San Roque, San Jose City, Munoz; Barangay Bantug, Munoz; Barangay Baloc, Santo Domingo, Baloc; Barangay Pulog Buli, Santo Domingo; Barangay Poblacion (behind municipal hall), Talavera; Poblacion North, Lupao; Poblacion Centro, Pantabangan; and Barangay Sinipit (behind municipal hall), Bongabon.

    Charging services were also set up in Marcos Village (beside Iglesia ni Cristo), Siclong, Laur; Barangay Paltik, Dingalan; Gabaldon town proper and Neust Compound; Cabu, Cabanatuan; Bangad, Cabanatuan; Aliaga Poblacion; Barangay Mambangan, Quezon, San Leonardo; Cuyapo Poblacion, San Leonardo; Saranay Disctrict, Guimba; Penaranda Poblacion; San Vicente, Gapan City; P. Carmen Street, San Isidro 1; Barangay San Fernando, Cabaiao; Barangay San Roque, Cabaiao; Gapan, Balwarte; Barangay Concepcion, General Tinio; and Agbanawag, Llanera.

    Smart subscribers can help provide vital information and report on-ground situation in their respective areas for free by sending RELIEFPH or RESCUEPH to 2929.

    Smart Public Affairs group head Ramon Isberto, meanwhile, assured subscribers that service will continue since there was only minimal damage to the telco’s wireless network.

    “There was minimal damage to our wireless network brought about by typhoon Lando. However, services in affected areas may be intermittent due to massive loss of commercial power,” Isberto said.

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