President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday, November 12, 2020, assured that the national government will provide relief, rescue, and assistance to families severely affected by Typhoon Ulysses, adding that no one will be left behind.
In an address to the nation, Duterte said local and national government agencies have been mobilized to respond to the situation on the ground as heavy rains and strong winds brought by the typhoon triggered massive floods and power interruptions.
“From the beginning, various government agencies have already been mobilized to respond to the situation on the ground. I renew my call on all local government units and concerned agencies to ensure that the well-being and the safety of our people remain the top priority,” he said.
He said concerned agencies will exert all its efforts to attend to people’s needs.
“As President, I guarantee you that your government will do its best to provide assistance in the form of shelters, relief goods, financial aid and post disaster counseling. Rest assured the government will not leave anybody behind. We will get through this crisis, I assure you,” he added.
Duterte also rejected criticism that the government has been sleeping on the job, saying local and government have been addressing challenges brought by the typhoon since it received an advisory.
“May mga nagsasabi na walang ginagwa, natutulog. Wala kaming tulog dito (There are people saying we’re not doing anything, we’re just sleeping. We haven’t slept yet),” he said.
He explained that he had to temporarily leave the ongoing video conference of the 37th ASEAN Summit to monitor the disaster situation.
Duterte said he personally wanted to leave Malacañan Palace to see firsthand the extent of damage of the typhoon but his detailed security prevented him from doing so.
“Ang problema ko, pinagbawalan ako ng nagbabantay sa akin, [Presidential Security Group], mga doctor, hindi ako makalabas (My problem is, I was barred by those guarding me, the PSG, doctors, I can’t get out),” he said.
He said he wanted to “be of help” and “share the grief” with suffering of the people, but had no choice but to comply with rules.
“It’s not that I am at a distance from you…Gusto kong pumunta doon, makipaglangoy sa inyo, ang problema pinipigilan ako (I want to go there, to swim with you, the problem is I’m being stopped),” he added.
To date, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Philippine National Police already deployed 3,261 Search and Rescue personnel in anticipation of Typhoon Ulysses.
Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) personnel, he said, were deployed in various areas such as in Cavite, Manila, Marikina, Montalban and Rodriguez in Rizal to aid local government units in their respective rescue and relief operations.
Roque said the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Central Office (CO), Field Offices (FOs), and National Resource Operations Center (NROC) have more than P800-M worth of stockpiles and standby funds.
He noted that standby funds of more than PHP226 million are available with more than PHP184 million for Quick Response Fund.
“There are stockpiles composed of more than 282,000 Family Food Packs (FFPs) amounting to more than PHP130 million, other food items amounting to more than PHP177 million and non-food items amounting to more than PHP271 million,” he said.
To ensure everyone’s safety, Roque said the Department of Transportation (DOTr), through the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), suspended all flight operations at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) beginning midnight until 6 a.m. of Nov. 12.
As of 8:00 p.m. of Nov. 11, 2020, Roque said the DOTr, through the Philippine Coast Guard, declared No Sail Policy in 24 provinces for all types of vessels. Forty ports have suspended operations, as of Nov. 11, 2020, 9:30 p.m.
The EDSA Busway operations and railway operations of MRT-3, LRT-1, LRT-2 and Philippine National Railway are suspended Thursday (Nov. 12), he added. (Azer Parrocha, PNA)