In his first public address since Super Typhoon Rolly, Gov. Joseph Cua challenged local chief executives and legislators alike to implement changes that will help adapt Catandunganons to stronger typhoons.
Gov. Cua proposed to legislators to craft ordinances geared towards typhoon adaptation, adding that the province should not forget the lessons learned from Super Typhoon Rolly, in his address at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan Session Hall on Jan. 18.
“Resiliency alone is not enough. Something has to change. Let us find our resolve in moving forward as smarter citizens of a typhoon-prone island. Our minds must be geared towards a proactive disaster preparedness response,” he asserted.
The governor noted that the province needs local ordinances that will standardize typhoon-resistant infrastructures, such as schools, government offices, and most importantly, evacuation centers.
He also challenged the mayors to invest in sturdier communications systems, so that the LGUs can report status and updates during a calamity.
“We cannot afford to make the same mistakes again. Ladies and gentlemen, it is no longer a question that we are indeed resilient people. But resiliency entails learning from our past experiences, and not tolerating inaction,” Gov. Cua said.
‘Sirong sa Harong’
The governor also championed the new “Sirong sa Harong” program, where the provincial government recognized and rewarded with five kilos of rice to those who provided food and shelter for their neighbours during times of calamity.
“Gusto kong bigyang diin na hindi ito aking programa, ito ay programa na mula sa kultura ng mga Catandunganon. Let us show the rest of the country that this virtue is worth emulating,” he said.
According to the Emergency Operation Center, over 57,500 Catandunganons took shelter in private houses compared to over 10,000 in government evacuation centers during Super Typhoon Rolly.
The governor in previous interviews last year averred that it is because of this culture of compassion that casualties were kept to a minimum of five (5) during Rolly despite its intensity.
Update on typhoon-relief efforts
The provincial government will not sit still in continuing typhoon-relief efforts, the governor added.
“Mga kaibigan, hindi pa tayo tuluyang nakakalagpas sa pagsubok na dulot ng nakaraang bagyo. Ngunit, asahan ninyong hindi tayo padadaig sa mga pagsubok na ito. We will not slack off,” he said.
He noted that the provincial government was relentless in its relief efforts, distributing over 179,000 food packs to over 76,000 families in all 11 municipalities, along with over 2,000 laminated sacks and hygiene kits.
“Sa ngayon, umabot sa humigit kumulang 12,000 ang yero na ating naipamigay, at sa mga susunod na araw, may darating pang karagdagang suplay nito,” he added, noting that the roofing came from cash donations from multiple donors.
On top of the millions of donations from the national government, local governments, and private donors, Gov. Cua added that the province is still waiting on Php 100 million cash assistance for abaca farmers from the Department of Agriculture.
On infrastructure, the governor noted that a record-breaking 81% of Catandunganon households will have power by the end of January, despite initial estimations that complete restoration would take six months.
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