Duterte pledges aid for Surigao quake victims, 13 Feb. 2017

SURIGAO CITY — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Sunday, February 12, visited Surigao del Norte following Friday’s 6.7 magnitude tremor that left at least six people dead and over 100 injured.

President Duterte flew to the province to personally oversee the relief and rehabilitation efforts being done by the government.

“I will release money for you, so prioritize those who lost their lives and source of living,” he said.

Aside from livelihood programs, the Chief Executive also suggested to provide housing to earthquake victims.

About 230 families were affected by the strong quake, based on data from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMC).

It also indicated that estimated cost of damages in infrastructure has reached P601.8 million.

Surigao City, the hardest hit area, had been placed under a state of calamity.

Rehabilitation funding for Surigao City is pegged at P69.8 million, which includes restoration of national roads and bridges, repair of irrigation canals and water system, rehabilitation of public buildings, burial assistance, rice/food packs, and medicines.

In the same speech, President Duterte likewise underscored the significance of attaining national peace when it comes to environmental preservation.

“Let’s achieve peace. All mountains that are full of conflict are useless. If you cut trees, make sure you have something to replace it with, or else the soil will erode,” he said.

He also expressed his inclination to shut down mining firms in Surigao as recommended by Environment Secretary Regina Lopez.

“So I think they will never be able to restore nature to what it was before. So I think I really will shut them all down,” he said.

He, meanwhile, vowed to provide alternative livelihood to those who will be affected by the possible closure of mining companies.

The President was accompanied by some of his Cabinet men including Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, Education Secretary Leonor Briones, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi and Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar. ###PND