Gov’t response to victims of natural calamities lamentable: Sen. Escudero

Opposition Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero yesterday lamented the government’s slow and apparently inadequate response in addressing the needs of hundreds of displaced families in several provinces affected by a spate of typhoons, floods and other calamities.

“From Mindoro to Mindanao to Mayon, we have seen thousands either displaced or distressed. But this administration seems more concerned about its well-being rather than providing assistance to those affected by natural disasters,” he stressed.

Escudero reiterated a previous call for the creation of permanent evacuation centers in provinces regularly affected by typhoons.

He also said that quick-response teams composed of personnel from various government agencies and departments should always be on standby for immediate deployment in typhoon-prone areas to assess damages to infrastructure and agriculture land.

The Philippines suffers extensive damage from the average 20-25 typhoons that batter it annually.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development said recent torrential rains displaced at least 85,000 families or 429,000 people in Cotabato, Maguindanao, Sarangani, South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat and submerged nine of Occidental Mindoro’s 11 towns.

At least 17 people were also killed while damages to agriculture and infrastructure were estimated by the National Disaster Coordinating Council at nearly P320 million.

At the same time, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said 75,000 people living near or within the periphery of Mt. Mayon may have to be evacuated, since it could erupt anytime soon.#