'Usman'-hit areas in Bicol get aid

January 5, 2019, 12:39 pm

CAMARINES SUR – Former Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Friday helped in relief operations in the Bicol region, which has been suffering from the effects of tropical depression Usman.

The former presidential aide provided relief goods to several flood and landslide-stricken municipalities in Bicol.

Go also coordinated with his former colleagues in the government and helped secure financial assistance for families who suffered casualties due to the tropical depression.

Go accompanied President Rodrigo Duterte in conducting an aerial survey of storm-hit areas in Camarines Sur which includes Iriga City, Nabua, Bula, Baao, and Sagñay to determine the extent of the damage caused by Usman.

Tiwi in Albay was also inspected due to landslides in surrounding areas.

After the aerial inspection, the President presided over a situation briefing with Cabinet members and local officials held at CamSur Watersports Complex in Pili, Camarines Sur.

Go sent relief goods for five municipalities hardest hit by Usman including Castilla in Sorsogon, Tiwi in Albay, and Sagñay in Camarines Sur.

The relief goods consisted of rice, canned goods, noodles, and bottled water.

Go’s group also allocated relief goods for the storm victims in the municipalities of Mercedes in Camarines Norte and for Catarman in Northern Samar, which are expected to arrive in the two towns by Saturday.

Through the efforts of Go, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) provided financial assistance to the next of kin of an initial batch of 13 fatalities due to the floods and landslides.

“Kasama po ang aking mga kaibigan, patuloy po kaming tutulong sa mga biktima sa abot ng aming makakaya,” Go said.

Meanwhile, Go said President Duterte has directed local officials in the storm-ravaged areas to do what is necessary to restore normalcy as soon as possible as the Chief Executive also vowed to assist in the rehabilitation of the damaged areas.

Currently, the government has extended around PHP10 million in assistance to the areas damaged by Usman.

“Ang order niya, sabi niya, dapat bumalik agad sa normal,” Go said in an ambush interview.

Usman caused the overflowing of both Baao Lake and Buhi Lake which caused flooding in several areas in and around Camarines Sur.

Go said President Duterte is saddened by the overflowing of the two lakes and the resulting damage it caused.

“Nalulungkot po siya na laging tinatamaan ng bagyo ang Bicol. Nakita namin ‘yung Buhi at Baao Lake kanina; lumawak po ‘yung lake. Ang problema po dito (ay) kung paano ma-de-drain ‘yung tubig. I think matatagalan po ito dahil walang exit ‘yung tubig pero gagawin namin lahat para mabalik sa normal ang sitwasyon,” Go added.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said a total of 122 people were reported to have died due to Usman, with majority of the fatalities coming from the Bicol.

As of Friday, some 75,326 families or 308,451 individuals were displaced in Bicol, Eastern and Western Visayas, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon, Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan. (PR)