Monday, June 23, 2008

KGMA 6/23/08

RP typhoon Frank aftermath situation bothers PGMA as she starts her
U.S. Visit

SAN FRANCISCO – President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo today immediately
buckled down to work as she called and reconvened the National
Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) for her to be able to know
firsthand information on the latest developments on the damage wrought
by Typhoon "Frank" in Metro Manila and other provinces affected by the
super typhoon.

The Chief Executive -- who is visibly concerned about the situation in
the Philippines due to the super howler -- made this move shortly upon
her arrival at the Presidential Suite of the Fairmont Hotel here where
she is billeted.

The President, accompanied by First Gentleman Atty. Jose Miguel Arroyo
and other members of her official delegation, arrived at the San
Francisco International Airport at exactly 7:20 p.m. (San Francisco
time) as she commenced the first leg of her 10-day, three state
working visit to the United States.

Upon the President's order, the NDCC immediately met at Camp Aguinaldo
in Quezon City, together with Cabinet members, as well as action
officers from concerned agencies.

Press Secretary Jesus Dureza said the President personally touched
base with the NDCC officials through a teleconference at her suite in
Fairmont Hotel in the presence of some Cabinet members led by Trade
and Industry Secretary Peter Favila, Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya,
Rep. Monico Puentebella, and himself, among others.

He added that the NDCC officials and concerned agency representatives
gave the President "all the updates on the specific instructions she
gave when she called for the NDCC meeting yesterday before leaving for
the U.S."

Dureza pointed out that the specific instructions of the President is
to continue updating her on the developments of the super typhoon
"kasi may mga areas pa na problemado."

He cited that since Metro Manila is under typhoon Signal #3, the C-130
that could have carried life boats and other rescue materials was not
able to take off.

Dureza noted that the President's instruction "is to mount an
operation center, logistic center there in Cebu, nearer to the area
using the facilities that are available there in Cebu for the moment
until we can mount our flights from Villamor Airbase."

During the teleconference, Dureza said that President Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo was so concerned about the reported Sulpicio vessel
that capsized.

According to him, the President pointedly asked the Coast Guard
representative whether there "were violations of notices issued to
vessels and for them to look closely on how they could undertake more
rescue operations now."

"The report given to her was that one of the survivors was fished out
quite far from the site where the (Sulpicio) vessel was supposed to
have capsized. So they have now indicated a new area where they would
start trying to make recovery operations with the coast guard."

The Department of Agriculture (DA) also reported to the President that
an initial 250,000 hectares were damaged by the super typhoon.

In this connection, Dureza said the President directed the DA to
undertake continuous and increased distribution of assistance to the
farmers for them to recover as soon as possible.

With the still bad condition of the power situation in the Visayas
particularly in Panay with only two percent been renergized , Dureza
said, the President instructed Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes to attend
to this immediately.

The Red Cross, through Senator Richard Gordon, reported that it is
already on the ground providing the necessary assistance.

Dureza also announced that the President will again hold another NDCC
meeting though teleconferencing tomorrow (June 22) at 4: a.m.
(Philippine time) to ensure that she will be able to continuously be
informed on the latest situation in the Philippines.

"She would like to do this before she takes off for Washington DC
tomorrow," he said.

Asked whether the President would be cutting short her trip to the
United States, Dureza said, "No, there's no talk about cutting short
her trip. That's why she would like to continuously be hands-on here,
kaya she's getting the NDCC action as if she's personally there in the

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