Interior Secretary Eduardo Año on Friday, November 13, 2020, commended the efforts of local government units (LGUs), including Marikina City, for their disaster response preparations despite the devastation brought by Typhoon Ulysses.
“Ok naman ang preparations and response ni Mayor (Marcy) Teodoro (The preparations and response of Mayor Marcy Teodoro are okay) and also other LGUs. Mayor Marcy did his best but it’s the wrath of nature and you can only do so much. Masyadong mabilis ang pagtaas ng tubig (The water’s rise was too fast), faster than Ondoy but the evacuation was being done even before the water reached the different alarming level. Tapos gabi or madaling araw pa nangyari kaya nadagdagan ang (And then it happened from night to dawn so there were additional) obstacles,” Año said in a message sent to reporters.
Año insisted that the agency had made preparations before the onslaught of “Ulysses’’ despite the reported casualties.
“But then, wala tayong casualty sa Marikina unlike “Ondoy” na almost 500 ang dead natin sa buong affected areas. Sa “Ulysses” ay (We have no casualty in Marikina unlike Ondoy with almost 500 dead in all affected areas. For “Ulysses”), we have so far 14 dead covering 39 provinces or 10 regions. Our preparations paid off. But as always our LGUs always carried out their mandate of saving the lives and ensuring the safety of their constituents,’’ he added.
Based on the latest Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) data, Año said 38,554 individuals were rescued from the typhoon which severely affected several low-lying areas like Marikina.
He said in a news briefing said the DILG placed a total of 39 provinces across regions on alert before the typhoon wreaked havoc.
Año maintained that the government was better prepared to deal with “Ulysses’’ than it was during Super Typhoon Rolly.
With 99 percent of the local chief executives (LCE) on hand and 12,439 evacuation centers activated, Año noted that 102,439 affected families or 345,119 individuals were relocated to evacuation centers at the height of “Ulysses’’ which caused massive flooding, landslides and power outage in some areas.
“Standing at the helm, a total 1,038 local chief executives out of 1,047 in affected areas, ‘yung siyam na wala naman ay ito ay various reasons, yung iba ang tinamaan ng Covid-19, ang iba naman ay under quarantine (nine were absent in their (turfs) due to various reasons. The others were infected with Covid-19 while some were placed under quarantine),’’ Año said.
Meanwhile, Teodoro has declared the city under a state of calamity due to massive floods during the onslaught of “Ulysses” that displaced thousands of residents.
“Nagdedeklara ako ng state of calamity sa lungsod ng Marikina upang sa ganon ay mabigyan ng pagkakataon ang ating mga kababayan na makabawi sa hirap at pinsalang nararanasan nila ngayon (I am declaring a state of calamity in the city of Marikina to give our constituents the opportunity to recover from the damage and hardship they experienced),” Teodoro said in a TV interview.
The declaration would allow the local government to access calamity funds to provide assistance to residents affected by the weather disturbance.
Teodoro said he wants to focus on economic rehabilitation, considering that the country is also facing a pandemic.
He added that he will also send doctors to the barangays to check the health condition of the residents, most of whom are drenched in rain, after spending the night on their roofs due to the floods.
Teodoro also announced that online and distance learning in the city is suspended until November 17.
He said this will give students the opportunity to get their modules to be fixed and to be used, after being wet by rain or destroyed by floods.
The city government is currently focused on removing thick mud left by the flood to ensure the safe return of residents to their homes. The city will deploy doctors to communities that will attend to the health concerns of residents.
“Ulysses” made landfall in Quezon province on Wednesday night, bringing torrential rains and strong winds in several areas including the National Capital Region.
The Philippine National Police has so far rescued 104,850 people, including 3,861 in Metro Manila as of 9 a.m. Friday.
It added said that some 362,354 individuals are currently served in 12,451 evacuation centers. (Christopher Lloyd Caliwan, PNA)