MANILA — An official of Malacanang on Wednesday assured the public that the government has emergency funds that would be tapped to address needs of would-be victims of Typhoon “Ruby” (international name: Hagupit), which remained outside of the country Wednesday afternoon.
“Meron tayong calamity fund na naka-abang to handle all these contingencies,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a briefing.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said the cyclone is expected to enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) Thursday with sustained winds of about 140 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center and gusts of up to 170 kph.
Two scenarios have been laid out and one of which says the typhoon would hit Central Visayas while the other picture is it will be prevented by a high pressure area from making a landfall and will instead go towards Japan.
Lacierda said the various agencies tasked to address disaster needs like the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) are now prepared to immediately extend services to people who would be affected by the natural calamity.
President Benigno Aquino III has repeatedly stressed his bid for a zero-casualty after any disaster.
Lacierda said this goal is “always an inspiration.”
“All efforts are made to at least to seek a zero casualty. Para ‘yung attitude ng mga government officials, attitude ng citizens also is to ensure the safety of each individual,” he said.
He said that “if we always have an aspirational goal of zero casualty, then the attitude of government people and the ordinary citizens would be in a manner that would make sure that we are kept safe or we ourselves make the initiative to keep ourselves safe from the calamities.”
Asked for its possible impact on the rehabilitation effort in Eastern Visayas, which was heavily destroyed by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in November 2013, Lacierda said it’s impossible to assess now since the cyclone is still outside of PAR.
“But, definitely, we are preparing for that. We have learned a lesson from Typhoon Yolanda, so I think that’s one area where we could really make sure that we are going to be prepared for this typhoon as we are in all other typhoons,” he said.