Following the devastation brought by Typhoon Rolly, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go on November 2, 2020, urged concerned government agencies and local government unit (LGU) authorities to work together to ensure the safety and health of evacuees who are temporarily seeking shelter in evacuation centers.
“Hinihikayat ko po ang mga ahensya ng gobyerno at LGUs na magtulungan upang masiguro ang seguridad ng ating mga evacuees, lalo na’t patuloy pa rin ang pag-ulan at may pandemya pa (I encourage the government agencies and LGUs to help each other to ensure security of our evacuees),” Go said.
As chair of the Senate committee on health and demography, Go raised concerns given possible spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) and other diseases in evacuation centers.
He urged authorities to ensure that health protocols, such as social distancing and wearing of masks, are still implemented, necessary medical supplies and medicines are made available, and healthcare workers are ready to assist Filipinos in evacuation centers.
“Bagamat ginagawa natin ang lahat upang mailigtas ang mga tao mula sa panganib na dulot ng bagyo, iwasan rin natin ang pagkalat ng Covid-19 at iba pang sakit sa mga sinisilungan nilang evacuation centers (Though we did our best to save people from danger of typhoon, we should also prevent the spread of Covid-19 and other diseases in the evacuation centers),” he said.
Go urged authorities to ensure that evacuation centers are safe and properly equipped, adding that they should be designed to avoid transmission of diseases given the ongoing health crisis.
“Kung kinakailangan, mamigay dapat ng libreng masks at magtalaga ng hand washing stations para sa mga evacuees sa mga evacuation centers (If necessary, there should be distribution of free face masks and put up handwashing stations for evacuees),” he said.
Widely considered as 2020’s strongest storm, Rolly made a landfall in Bato, Catanduanes at 4:50 a.m. on Sunday and brought “catastrophic violent winds and intense to torrential rainfall” to the area, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration. It is expected to exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility on Tuesday, but a new tropical storm “Siony” has just entered PAR and continues to intensify.
Go earlier filed Senate Bill 1228 or the “Mandatory Evacuation Center Act” which aims to establish safe, permanent, and dedicated evacuation centers in every city, province, and municipality in the country. It must also be fully equipped to provide immediate aid to calamity and disaster victims, including fire victims.
“Taon-taon, nakakaranas tayo ng higit kumulang dalawampung bagyo, at kaakibat din nito ang baha at landslide. Maraming lugar rin sa bansa ang nakararanas ng lindol. Bukod nito, kaliwa’t kanan ding may nangyayaring sunog sa iba’t ibang parte ng bansa (Every year, we experience an average of 20 typhoons and floods and landslides. Many areas in the country also experience earthquakes aside from other calamities like fires in other parts of countries,” Go said. “Kaya naman dapat ay palagi tayong handa na magprovide ng ligtas na evacuation centers para sa ating mga kababayan, lalo na ngayon na may pandemya (That’s why we have to be ready to always provide secured evacuation centers).”
He recommended that the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council and other relevant agencies must coordinate with LGUs and their local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officers, health offices, and the National Task Force on Covid-19 to implement evacuation plans that take into consideration the health hazards posed by the ongoing pandemic.
“Iba’t ibang krisis at sakuna ang hinaharap ng mga Pilipino kada taon. Nadagdagan pa ito ng isang pandemya ngayon. Kung gaano kabilis makasira ng pamumuhay ang mga di inaasahang pangyayaring ito, mas mabilis dapat ang aksyon ng gobyerno upang mapaghandaan at maprotektahan ang buhay at kapakanan ng mga Pilipino (We have been experiencing different kinds of calamities every year. Now, we have pandemic. The government should quickly act to protect the life and welfare of the Filipinos),” Go added.
Go also assured the public that President Rodrigo Duterte is currently monitoring and giving directives to agencies involved in responding to the devastation brought by Typhoon Rolly.
“Tinututukan ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte at ng lahat ng ahensyang sangkot sa pagresponde sa kalamidad ang sitwasyon para makapagbigay ng epektibong emergency response at assistance sa lahat ng mga apektado (President Duterte and all concerned agencies monitored the situation to provide effective emergency response to those affected by typhoon),” Go said.
He said the Duterte administration will never abandon the Filipinos particularly in times of crises.
“Magbayanihan po tayo upang malampasan ang ga pagsubok na hinaharap natin (Let’s support each other to overcome every trial we are facing),” he added.
Go also reminded concerned agencies to act immediately in restoring normalcy and ensuring delivery of critical services in affected areas.
“Siguraduhin po natin na maisaayos agad ang mga daan at maibalik agad ang kuryente at transportasyon, pati rin ang pagsasaayos ng communication infrastructure, upang mas mabilis makabangon ang ating mga kababayan. Siguraduhin rin dapat na makarating ang serbisyo mula sa gobyerno at mga pribadong sektor na nais tumulong (Make sure the immediate restoration of roads and power and transportation as well as communication infrastructure so that our countrymen will recover fast. Also, make sure that government services and those from the private sector who wants to help will be delivered),” he said.