Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Province of Romblon to be enlisted under state of calamity

ROMBLON, Romblon – President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo today ordered the inclusion of the province of Romblon in the list of provinces placed under a state of calamity after the destructive wake of typhoon Frank some three weeks ago.

President Arroyo announced the directive at the Romblon National High School here where she was briefed by local officials about the the possible outbreak of typhoid fever here and in Odiongan town; plus the diarrheal cases in the San Fernando town.

In his letter to the President, Romblon Gov. Natalio Beltran III appealed for the inclusion of Romblon in the said calamity list ‘so that we can avail of whatever support and assistance that may be granted by the national government’ for Frank-affected local government units (LGUs).
Beltran explained to President Arroyo that the Romblon provincial government was not able to immediately report its situation to the national government ‘due to total failure of power, transportation and communication systems which bogged down during the occurrence of the typhoon.’

Because of this, ‘gathering of the necessary reports from the different island municipalities was almost impossible which resulted to the delayed submission by the Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council (PDCC) on the extend of damage caused by typhoon ‘Frank.’’

The Romblon governor added that the PDCC was also ‘so pre-occupied in assisting the rescue operations on M/V Princess of the Stars of Sulpicio Lines which sunk in the Sibuyan Sea near the municipality of San Fernando, Romblon,’ thus its failure to immediately report on the total provincial damage which would have easily included it in the list of LGUs placed under a state of calamity.

Governor Beltran further related in his letter to the President dated today (July 15, Tuesday) that his province was so ‘badly devastated by typhoon ‘Frank’ last June 21-22, 2008 which caused some lives (11 dead, two missing and seven injured) of our fellow Romblomanons, not to mention the millions of pesos worth of properties and infrastructure facilities damaged by the said typhoon.’

In his letter ot the President, Beltran attached Resolution No. 06-2008-65 of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Romblon dated June 27, 2008 declaring the province of Romblon under a state of calamity. Also included was the Romblon PDCC disaster report.

In this capital town alone, Mayor Gerard Montojo said the 31 barangays suffered a total of P70 million in infrastructure damage, including some 7,000 houses worth P31 million damaged either totally or partially. Some P31 million worth of crops were also destroyed here, including P10.5 million worth of banana plants, P8.5 million in fisheries, P6 million in coconut trees, and P3.5 million in fruit trees.

It is the second time that President Arroyo is visiting this province to check on government’s efforts to help alleviate the lives of residents affected by the super typhoon that sunk the biggest ship of Sulpicio Lines.

Two Tuesdays ago, President Arroyo was in Sibuyan island where she commiserated with affected residents by distributing relief goods, and then later pouring holy water into the Sibuyan Sea where the sunken Sulpicio ship still remains embedded in the coral reef.

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