MANILA — The Office of the Presidential Spokesperson on Sunday said initial reports on casualties and coordination between the national and local governments are “encouraging” vis-à-vis efforts to help areas and people affected by the onslaught of Typhoon “Ruby”.
“As we continue to work together, we pay tribute to the efforts of frontline responders, national and local agencies and the cooperation of the public,” said Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda in his Field Bulletin No. 5.
Lacierda said Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin remains to have the reins on the coordination of flow of information to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) “for the effective allocation of resources”, while Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas II continues to lead the national government frontline team in Eastern Samar.
“As of 1 p.m. today, the frontline team is making its way to Dolores, Eastern Samar, from Borongan. The team is also clearing the road of felled trees and downed lines,” he said.
Dolores, which is located some 65 kilometers from Borongan, was where the strong typhoon made its first landfall Saturday evening.
The typhoon officially entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) Thursday morning and is expected to exit by Wednesday.
The government has prepared for the typhoon since early last week in line with its bid for a zero casualty after it was reported to pack strong winds.
Lacierda said there are few reported injuries and no reported death along the road of Borongan and San Julian.
He said Roxas was able to speak with San Julian Mayor Ezekiel Fritz Aseo, who “confirmed that there are no reported deaths in his town.”
”The Team also noted that the damage observed was similar to that sustained by Panay Island and Palawan during Typhoon ‘Yolanda’, which fallen trees and downed lines,” he said but clarified that “the damage was brought on by strong winds and was not caused by storm surge.
Lacierda added there is enough rice supply if needed noting that the National Food Authority (NFA) assured that its warehouse in Borongan has about 2,500 sacks of rice on hand while its warehouse in Calbayog, in the same province, has about 20,000 sacks of rice.