MANILA — After staying for almost 7 days in Eastern Samar, Interior and Local Government Sec. Mar Roxas has reported that the situation in Eastern Samar has already stabilized after Typhoon Ruby ravaged the area last weekend.
“If compared to a patient, the emergency room and ICU period have passed, and we are now in the regular room,” Roxas said in Filipino during the press briefing held at the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).
As head of the National Government Frontline Team, Roxas was tasked by President Aquino to assist local government units (LGUs) in their rescue and relief operations.
In his report, Roxas confirmed nine (9) Ruby-related deaths in the province: one from the municipality of Jipapad, two from Dolores, two from Sulat, and four from Borongan City; and four persons were reported missing: one from Oras and three from Borongan.
He added that Eastern Samar is no longer isolated as the main supply routes have been opened, including the airport and seaports in Borongan airport. With no reports of looting, the supply and prices of fuel and other goods are stable.
Cellular communication is also now operational and relief goods are being distributed to all evacuation centers systematically.
“The situation in Masbate has also stabilized,” Roxas added.
Because of this progress, the government has begun transitioning from emergency response to relief operations, and is set to undertake early recovery efforts.
Sec. Roxas submitted his report to NDRRMC Executive Director Usec. Alexander Pama for appropriate action.
“Nalagpasan natin ang Ruby, lahat ng hamon, malalampasan natin, basta united tayo (We have prevailed over Ruby, we’ll be able to overcome all challenges for so long as we are united),” Roxas remarked.
For his part, Pama said the official death toll as of 12 noon is 18 but on Secretary Roxas reports’ seven included while the two are still being validated by the Department of Health.
He added the government provided Php 10,000 as financial assistance to the family of confirmed fatalities.
Asked on the comparison of the death tolls of some organizations, Pama said ” I just want to emphasize ever since na yung tinatally po natin dito are figures that are official, ibig sabihin wala namang problema kung ilang daan grupo o organization na magta-tally ng mga figures, we are just focused on following the protocols and procedures.”
Since Ruby has already been out from the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR), Pama also said at this point the activity of the agency is transition phase.
“Were doing right now is the transition phase of our activities from the immediate actions that are we are undertaking in the field and now transitioning the full response cluster operations starting out with the relief operations na nangyayari na po ngayon, leading to what we will be calling early recovery and that will be supervised here from the national level and implemented on the regional level,” Pama explained.