LEGAZPI, ALBAY — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Monday, January 29, handed over an initial P20 million cash assistance to the local officials of Albay to address the needs of thousands of displaced residents due to Mayon Volcano’s eruption.
“I’ll give you initially today 20 million and I will augment it tomorrow by sending you about 50 [million],” President Duterte said during a situation briefing with disaster and local officials here.
He said the initial funding is allotted for food, sanitation and other immediate needs of Albay residents who were affected by the series of Mayon Volcano eruption in the past weeks.
Aside from the P20 million aid, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) also handed over P5 million assistance to the province of Albay.
Alert level 4 has been hoisted over Mayon Volcano, which means that a hazardous explosion may still take place.
The Chief Executive stressed that aside from relief goods, it is also important to provide the evacuees with clean toilets for sanitation purposes and to prevent the spread of diseases.
With this, he instructed Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to order the Armed Forces of the Philippines to look for portable toilets and transport it to Albay as soon as possible.
According to the local Department of Health, due to the cramp situation at the evacuation centers, at least 4,139 medical consultations were recorded mostly due to acute respiratory illnesses, skin problems and hypertension.
For the agriculture sector, President Duterte underscored that the government has an allocated budget for it and once the need arises, the Quick Reaction Fund amounting to P100 million will be provided by the Department of Agriculture.
To date, the total damage wrought by the eruption to the local agriculture sector amounted to P189,434,666 wherein 10,294 farmers were affected.
The Chief Executive listened to some of the problems confronting the local officials and promised them to address it by next week.
“We will solve the problem all of it next week,” he said.
He tasked his Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs Francis Tolentino to coordinate with the local government officials in order to address their needs and deal with the crisis.
Local government units in Albay, prior to the situation briefing, outlined to the President their initial report regarding the damages caused by the Mayon eruption.
According to the data presented by Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara, the total donations culled from different stakeholders already reached P80.83 million.
For the education sector, meanwhile, at least 48,000 students were affected because 78 schools totaling to 981 classrooms were utilized as immediate evacuation centers for 100,000 evacuees.
Most schools from the first and third districts of Albay already resumed classes today while third district schools including Camalig are still suspended since most of the evacuees came from this district. PND