By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos

SITUATION BRIEFING. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. leads the situation briefing on the effects of the shearline and low-pressure area in Davao Region at the Department of Public Works and Highways in Davao City on Wednesday (Feb. 7, 2024). Leaders from the various provinces in Davao Region presented the assessment on the extent of damage caused by flooding and landslides. (PNA photo by Robinson Niñal Jr.)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has ordered the release of around PHP265 million to augment the relief assistance for the families affected by the recent flooding and landslides in Mindanao.

This was revealed when Marcos presided over a situation briefing at the Presidential Guest House in Davao City on Wednesday in the wake of flooding and landslides triggered by the shear line and trough of a low-pressure area in the region.

Marcos has authorized the release of PHP265 million from his Presidential Social Fund, which is on top of the emergency cash assistance distributed to flood and landslide victims, Social Welfare Secretary Rex Gatchalian said.

Marcos said the additional funds will be used to help the displaced families buy other household items.

“From the reports that we have had, I think that we are doing all right in the food— the provision of food packs, etcetera. But as the Secretary was explaining, it gets to the point na hindi lang pagkain ang kailangan ng tao (that the people need not just food). They need to buy other things para sa kanilang (for their) household,” he said.

“That’s why I released PHP265 million to make sure that the pace of the response is immediate at maramdaman kaagad ng tao, meron kaagad silang tulong, maramdaman nila kaagad na meron silang gagamitin sa pangangailangan nila (and the people feel immediately, that there is immediate assistance, they feel immediately that they have something to use for their needs),” Marcos added.

Based on Gatchalian’s presentation, the provinces of Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental, Agusan del Sur, and Davao de Oro will receive PHP30 million each, while the provinces of Surigao del Sur and Maguindanao del Sur will get PHP25 million each.

Agusan de Norte will be given PHP15 million, while Cotabato and Bukidnon provinces will receive PHP10 million each.

Marcos also ordered the immediate repair of roads to fast-track the distribution of assistance to affected areas, particularly the isolated villages.

“The infrastructure problem, really, we will have to again prioritize the thoroughfares, the roads that are necessary for us to be able to bring whatever relief goods are necessary, all of these water purifiers, etcetera, the equipment that’s necessary. Make sure that every barangay, maabot natin (will be reached),” he said.

“‘Yung helicopter is okay pero kakaunti lang lang kanilang kayang dalhin. Trak-trak ang kailangan diyan eh (Using helicopter is okay but it can only carry a few things. Trucks are needed there),” Marcos added.

The death toll from the effects of bad weather due to through of a low-pressure area and the northeast monsoon in parts of Mindanao has climbed to 18 in Mindanao, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council’s situation report released Tuesday.

The reported death in the Davao Region, along with 11 injured and three missing persons, are still being validated.

Around 324,040 families or over 1.2 million persons in 723 villages in Northern Mindanao, Davao Region, Caraga and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao have so far been affected. (PNA)