TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, (PNA) — President Benigno S. Aquino III assured Boholanos of financial assistance that would be taken from the national government savings of P20 billion to fund post-quake reconstruction of damaged infrastructures in the province.
Getting updates from Cabinet members in Wednesday night’s meeting in front of Loon municipal hall, the President said he wants to know the damage report from Bohol to be able to estimate the amount that will be allocated from the savings.
The fund will be used to repair the bridges, roads, school buildings, hospitals, municipal halls, police stations and other government buildings damaged after the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that hit the province on October 15, and the ensuing aftershocks.
The President, together with DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman, DPWH Sec. Rogelio Singson, Defense Sec. Voltaire Gazmin, DILG Sec. Manuel Roxas II, Budget Sec. Butch Abad arrived Wednesday here and checked the situation in Loon.
Singson assured that the repair on the remaining impassable bridges including Abatan connecting Maribojoc and Cortes towns; and Moalong Bridge connecting Loon and Calape — will be completed by November 20.
Singson noticed that the damaged roads and bridges are located in the northern part along Tagbilaran North Road area.
He said he will talk to Health Sec. Ona and DepEd Sec. Armin Luistro on the estimates of the damage on hospitals, and school buildings, respectively.
DOE Secretary Jericho Petilla also reported on the status of fuel supply in Maribojoc and other challenged areas.
Aquino and the Cabinet members will visit Tubigon and Sagbayan Thursday.
It is the second time the President visited Bohol since the 7.2 magnitude earthquake rocked Bohol, where Loon is the worst hit area where 53 of the 60 casualties died on the spot.
Soliman reported that as of last count, there are 329,415 Boholanos affected, while the food packs delivered totaled to 186,901.
The military reported to the President that 80,000 pounds of relief goods were already delivered to hinterland barangays through choppers, and 578,000 pounds of goods were taken charged by the Philippine Navy.
The military also said affected provinces were immediately placed on red alert right after the tremor.
On the retrieval operations, road widening activities pose a challenge.
Roxas reported that the PNP and the DILG continues to help ensure that relief goods reach the affected residents.
So far, there had been no crime against property during the crisis period.
Aquino declared it urgent to find ways how the people can go back to their houses to avoid compounding problems, considering that in evacuation centers and in open spaces they are exposed to some elements making them prone to illnesses and there is no assurance of regular meals.
The President also wants all the damaged houses and structures checked thoroughly and that housing assistance be extended to the victims.
The DOE, for their part, raised the concern in Maribojoc where the only option in the sale of fuel is through recycled softdrink bottles which is unsafe, because the only gasoline station in the town operated by Caltex was totally damaged.
To eliminate the sale of gasoline in bottles at P100 per liter, DOE tapped a Petron dealer to put up a temporary tank and a temporary pump facility by Thursday, October 24, in a makeshift gas station.
DOE-7 Regional Director Antonio Labios was directed to monitor the prices of gasoline and in return got the assurance of dealers to refrain from taking advantage of the situation.