MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte is set to come up this week with an executive order establishing the mega task force that he envisioned would expedite rebuilding and rehabilitation in the wake of destructive weather disturbances, particularly Typhoon Ulysses.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the details of the EO on the creation of the “Build Back Better” task force are being worked out.
Sen. Bong Go, a close presidential aide, confirmed preparations for the release of an EO.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, as task force head, will oversee the government’s response to emergency situations, especially with regard to the release of emergency funds.
“So if the President gives an order to any agencies of the government, the response should be prompt. And what the President wants is, even if different agencies are bound to cooperate with one another, there should be one in charge and that is the executive secretary,” Roque said.
He reiterated that the functions of the task force would not overlap with those of the
National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).
“There is the NDRRMC which is an attached agency of the Department of National Defense, and of course it handles staff work and coordinates rescue and relief operations – including the giving of warnings because we have laws that obligate NDRRMC to provide this early warning to our countrymen,” Roque said in Filipino.
Meanwhile, Australian Ambassador Steven Robinson said his country has extended P35 million in assistance to families affected by Typhoon Ulysses, in response to a United Nations appeal for immediate help for the victims.
The UN made the appeal on Nov. 9 for $45.5 million in immediate relief to some 260,000 people in the provinces devastated by Super Typhoon Rolly.
The Bicol Region bore the brunt of the typhoon’s violent winds and torrential rains, blowing away roofs, toppling structures and causing severe flooding and landslides.
“Australia has contributed to that as well and we’re now at a point of contributing A$1 million (P35 million) to typhoon response. This is not really the amount but the principle that when the Philippines is in difficulty, Australia will stand by the Philippines,” Robinson told reporters on the sidelines of the launch of Australia Government initiative Investing Women RISE Fund-Responsive Interventions Supporting Entrepreneurs.
“About a million Australian dollars so that’s about P35 million to P36 million that has been contributed in the last couple of weeks to the response,” he said.
Since 2006, Australia has responded to 21 different disasters or conflicts in in the Philippines.
“And so Typhoon Rolly is no different and soon as Typhoon Rolly hit, you might be aware that due to arrangements with the Philippine government and also the Philippine Red Cross, we’ve over the last few years pre-positioned a whole range of supplies here in the Philippines to enable us to have instantaneous response,” Robinson said.
“Within a very short time, about 48 hours or maybe even less, of Typhoon Rolly hitting, we were able to release about P6.5 million worth of prepositioned supplies,” he added.
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