President Rodrigo Duterte has placed the entire Luzon under a state of calamity to facilitate the swift relief and rehabilitation efforts in typhoon and flood-hit communities.
In a recent televised public address, Duterte said he has signed the proclamation approving the recommendation of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) placing the entire island of Luzon under a state of calamity.
“I think I signed the proclamation,” Duterte said.
The President was responding to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana who reminded him about the NDRRMC’s recommendation on the Luzon-wide calamity declaration.
The council earlier sought the calamity declaration to address the adverse impact of recent typhoons that battered areas in Luzon.
Senator Christopher “Bong” Go supported NDRRMC’s recommendation to Duterte to place the entire Luzon under a state of calamity.
A calamity declaration will help speed up the relief and rebuilding efforts and give leeway in the fund releases.
It also allows the imposition of price control measures to ease the economic impact of the calamity on the people.
At least 67 people have died while thousands have been displaced from their homes after the powerful typhoons caused massive floods and landslides in various parts of Luzon.
Billions of pesos worth of storm damage to agriculture and infrastructure have also been reported by authorities.
Aside from placing the whole of Luzon under a state of calamity, Duterte has appointed Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar to jointly head the Build Back Better inter-agency task force.
The task force was created to ensure the immediate rehabilitation of communities devastated by successive typhoons that have hit the country. It will be composed of representatives from different government agencies.
It was last Saturday that Duterte announced the creation of the inter-agency task force. JONATHAN ARACELI FOR SOVEREIGNPH