December 2, 2022

(UPDATE) PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has approved a circular declaring a state of calamity in Regions 4A, 5 and 6 and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), areas hit hard by Severe Tropical Storm “Paeng,” Malacañang confirmed on Wednesday.

As stated in Proclamation 84, the declaration shall be in effect for six months “unless earlier lifted” by the Chief Executive.

“The onslaught of Severe Tropical Storm Paeng from October 26 to 29, 2022 caused the loss of lives, destruction of property, damage to agriculture and critical infrastructures, and disruption of means of livelihood and normal way of life of the populations in the affected areas,” part of the document signed for Marcos by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, read.

“All government departments, agencies, and instrumentalities concerned are hereby directed to continue implementing and executing rescue, recovery, relief, and rehabilitation measures in accordance with pertinent operational plans and directives,” it added.

Departments and other concerned government agencies were directed to coordinate with local government units to provide or augment the basic services and facilities in the said regions.

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The declaration will allow the government to control the prices of basic necessities and prime commodities and enable the national and local governments to utilize their funds for rescue, recovery, and rehabilitation measures.

The President may include other areas in the declaration of a state of calamity if warranted, taking into consideration the continuing damage assessment in affected areas based on the recommendation of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and the conditions provided by law, the Palace noted.

More than 1.4 million people from Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon), Bicol Region, Western Visayas and BARMM were adversely affected by the weather disturbance.

The NDRRMC, through a resolution, recommended the declaration of a state of calamity in the said regions to hasten rescue, relief and rehabilitation efforts.

On Wednesday, the NDRRMC said that the death toll from Paeng rose to 121.

There were 103 persons injured and 36 others are missing.

Meanwhile, the number of affected individuals ballooned to 3,180,132 or 927,822 families.

A total of 11,294 houses were damaged, 9,190 partially and 2,104 totally.

Damage to agriculture was estimated at P1.2 billion and P3.4 billion for infrastructure.

Some 41 cities and municipalities in Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan), Region 5 and Region 8 had communication problems, but only six have been restored according to the NDRRMC report.

All airports resumed operations, but only 52 of the country’s 68 seaports have opened.

Meanwhile, Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go sent his team to deliver assistance to typhoon victims in the cities of Bacoor and Cavite and the towns of Kawit, Noveleta and Rosario in Cavite province.

“Rest assured that we will do our part, to the best of our abilities, to provide support and help affected communities recover,” Go said.

“I am continuously coordinating with our national agencies on the ground and concerned local government units to assist them in every way we can. Our teams are also in other affected areas to help in the relief operations,” he added.

Go’s team distributed food packs and relief goods to 1,500 typhoon victims through their local government units. They also provided shirts and umbrellas.

Go assured the victims that he will continue assisting affected communities, particularly in the relief, recovery and rehabilitation efforts.

“As usual, to the best of our ability, we will do our best to help those affected by the typhoon. We understand how hard it is to lose a home and belongings. However, do not lose hope because we are here ready to help you,” reassured Go.

WITH FRANCIS EARL CUETO AND JAVIER JOE ISMAEL