BUTUAN CITY – President Rodrigo R. Duterte arrived in Tandag City on Tuesday afternoon to inspect the devastation wrought by Tropical Storm Auring on Surigao del Sur over the weekend, as national government agencies descend on the province on the same day to aid calamity victims.
Accompanied by Sen. Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go, President Duterte conducted an aerial survey on several areas affected by "Auring" shortly after arriving at the Tandag Airport past 3 p.m.
The President then met with his Cabinet secretaries and local officials at the Villa Maria Luisa Hotel to discuss disaster relief efforts and long-term interventions on the affected sectors.
Agriculture Secretary Willam D. Dar, one of the Cabinet officials who accompanied Duterte, distributed PHP300,000 worth of milled rice, chicks, and assorted vegetable seeds to farmers.
DA-13 information officer Emmylou T. Presilda said the immediate assistance was intended for families whose farms and livelihood were directly affected by the typhoon.
“We are still finalizing the complete data on the total number of hectares damaged and the number of farmers and fishermen affected by the typhoon. These data are coming from the Municipal Agriculture Offices (MAOs) in the province,” Presilda told the Philippine News Agency.
Another PHP217 million worth of seeds, farm machinery, and equipment were handed over to the provincial government and the different farmers’ groups in the area, she said.
In addition, DA-13 also turned over more than PHP149 million worth of farm equipment and machinery through the mechanization program of the Philippine Center for Postharvest and Mechanization (PHilMech).
The Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC), meanwhile, released on the same day an indemnification fund totaling PHP1.2 million, according to Presilda.
On top of the DA assistance, she said the affected farmers and fisherfolks also received PHP28 million worth of aid from the national government's Bayanihan 2 Program.
For its part, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) provided financial aid to 3,658 typhoon victims in a distribution activity held at the Tandag City gymnasium. Each recipient received PHP3,000 cash assistance each.
Meanwhile, Gov. Alexander T. Pimentel said the President has committed a suit of aid packages to help the province's agriculture sector and repair damaged infrastructures.
Employment and livelihood support for calamity victims would also be provided by various national agencies, Pimentel added.
"The President has given all Cabinet secretaries involved in providing assistance to the disaster victims 30 days to consult and finalize all the needed support to be provided," the governor said. (PNA)