(Photo courtesy of Oton, Iloilo MDRRMO)

MANILA – The damage to infrastructure caused by Typhoon Odette in areas in the Visayas and Mindanao has been initially placed at more than PHP178 million, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) reported on Friday.

“We estimate about PHP178.4 million damage of our structures. These are only the roads and bridges, not included (are) the buildings, private structures,” DPWH Undersecretary Emerson Benitez said in a press briefing.

The department said as of Friday noon, 16 road sections remained closed to traffic – two in Central Visayas, one in Eastern Visayas, five in Northern Mindanao, and eight in the Caraga region – due to fallen trees, flooding, soil collapse, landslide, road slip, damaged bridge, and vehicular accident.

Meanwhile, four road sections have limited access – one in Northern Mindanao and three in Caraga – due to flooding and fallen trees.

All other national roads and bridges in other affected regions are passable to all types of vehicles.

“Just an hour ago, we were able to release PHP100 million. This is going to be used to sustain our personnel on the ground, including the equipment. For Region 6 (Western Visayas), we released PHP20 million; Region 7 (Central Visayas), PHP20 million; Region 8 (Eastern Visayas), PHP20 million; Region 10 (Northern Mindanao), PHP10 million; and Region 13 (Caraga), PHP30 million. This is just an initial response, and we hope to have additional funds to be requested from the Department of Budget and Management,” Benitez added.

On the other hand, Bureau of Maintenance Director Ernesto Gregorio Jr. said the necessary equipment has been deployed to the affected areas as they prepare for clearing operations.

“Our quick response is to immediately open the roads. That’s the instruction of (acting) Secretary Roger Mercado, except for flooded areas and those road slip(s) and landslide(s),” he added. (PNA)