Malacañang assured that the government has enough resources to address the needs of the residents affected by the major earthquake in Visayas on Tuesday.
In a press conference, Palace deputy spokesman Abigail Valte said that the government has readied P8.7 million worth of relief goods for the affected areas.
She said that the standby funds for Region VI is at P5.9 million while P2.84 million is for Region VII.
“Dahil na rin po ‘yan doon sa magandang paggugol ng kaban ng bayan ay nasisigurado naman pong meron po tayong mga pondo para magbigay po ng tulong doon sa mga naaapektuhan po ng kalamidad [Because of the good fiscal management of our national coffers, we are assured that we have enough funds to assist those who are affected by calamities],” Valte said.
“So, thankfully, hindi naman po nade-deplete in one calamity ‘yung mga resources natin, at least for a particular region, and lagi naman po tayong may pinaghuhugutan. Nandiyan din ‘yung calamity fund, nandiyan din ho ‘yung contingency fund, in cases where we need the augmentation [So, thankfully, our resources are not depleted in one calamity, at least for a particular region. We always have sources of funds like
the calamity fund and contingency fund in cases where we need the augmentation],” she added.
According to Valte, the government continues to conduct assessment and there are also ongoing rescue operations.
“So, at this point, I cannot say yet until such time that a definitive picture has been given to national government,” she said.
“We expect to see a better picture of what has happened in these areas that have been affected by the earthquake,” Valte added.
The Palace official said that President Aquino has been receiving updates from his Cabinet members since the earthquake hit.
Aquino was reported on his way to Camp Aguinaldo “to be able to give the President a clearer picture of at least the effects of the earthquake in Bohol and in Cebu,” Valte said
The President will be briefed by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).
“Earlier this morning, the President had been receiving updates from our Cabinet secretaries. He has been in touch with at least three that I know of: the ES, the SND, and Secretary Soliman,” she added
President Aquino has already directed the NDRRMC, DSWD, Department of
Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Health (DOH), Armed Forces and the National Police.
“Knowing the President, he will want to see first that assistance is given to the areas that need it the most,” Valte said
The DSWD, she said will provide tents in open spaces while the structures will be checked by the DPWH.
The President also instructed Executive Secreatry Paquinot Ochoa Jr. “to make sure that people do not approach damaged structures until you
have been given the go-signal from your local authorities,” she added
Meanwhile, the Palace official urged the public not to go near damaged structures as assessment is ongoing.
“We are still continuing to experience aftershocks and it would be best to stay away first from damaged structures for your own personal safety,” she said
“Importante po ito, dinggin po natin ‘yung panawagan ng ating mga lokal na awtoridad [It is important that we heed the call of our local authorities],” Valte added. CATHERINE VALENTE