The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has started providing support, particularly cash assistance, to communities seriously affected by Typhoon Odette in Siargao, Dinagat Islands, Cebu, Bohol, Palawan, and other typhoon-hit provinces.
“One thing that saddened me is the plight of the settlers within the shoreline that was badly hit,” DENR Sec. Roy Cimatu said through a statement released by his office Sunday, December 26.
“With this, I will extend all my powers and privileges being the secretary of the DENR. We will come to their rescue,” Cimatu said, committing that the DENR will find ways to help resettle the communities.
Cimatu entrusted Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns Benny Antiporda to supervise relief activities in Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte, shortly after the hurricane hit on December 16 and 17.
“Rather than prepare for a joyous Christmas, I instructed Undersecretary Antiporda to assess and check the situation there. This is the instruction of the President (Rodrigo Duterte) to me,” Cimatu said during his speech at the DENR year-end general assembly on December 22, attended by 1,600 employees online and 300 at the agency’s multipurpose building in Quezon City.
Antiporda flew to Siargao on December 19 to conduct an assessment and provide the first wave of aid.
“Initially, we already sent partial relief goods for them a day after the typhoon. Our DENR-Region 11 (Davao) also traveled by land to conduct relief operations,” Cimatu shared in a news release on Sunday.
He likewise urged employees to find ways to extend help to their fellow Filipinos.
“This is an opportunity for those of us who were spared from the damage done by the COVID-19 and Typhoon Odette to commiserate with and assist the victims. I hope that you find it in your heart to extend help,” Cimatu said.