President Duterte has placed the entire Luzon region under a state of calamity following the recent onslaught of typhoons “Quinta”, “Rolly” and “Ulysses” which razed infrastructure, agricultural lands, fisheries and caused landslides, floods and loss of life.
In a taped address to the nation, President Duterte confirmed that he had signed the proclamation, which will enable local government units to access funds and resources for emergency situations.
However, calamity funds of LGUs are almost drained due to the Covid19 pandemic. Sen. Bong Go appealed to the executive department to contribute to calamity funds of affected LGUs with the equivalent of 1% of their respective internal revenue allotment.
Under a state of calamity, an automatic price freeze is imposed over all of Luzon in accordance with the Price Act, which prices for basic necessities will stay as is for 60 days unless lifted earlier. This covers rice, corn, bread, fresh, dried or canned fish, fresh pork, beef, poultry, eggs, milk, vegetables, coffee, sugar, cooking oil, salt, laundry soap, charcoal and drugs deemed essential by the health department, among others.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, the NDRRMC chairman, assembled a technical working group focused on prevention, mitigation and preparedness, to evaluate current management of the dams.
He also instructed the state weather service to review its historical data to strengthen warnings beforehand and raised other concerns to different agencies such as the assistance for affected farmers and fishermen, road clearing, shelter requirements, and other recovery interventions.
Cagayan, one of the regions hardest-hit by the typhoons, has suspended classes until the end of the month, to give more time for families to recover.
The latest typhoon “Ulysses” killed 73 and affected over 1.7 million people directly. It also caused severe flooding in certain areas, necessitating the ongoing rescue operations. The damage to agriculture and infrastructure across the country has reached billions.