Aerial shot of Roxas town proper as of December 23 (Photo credit Allen Joshua Rapues)

Ten days after Typhoon Odette battered central and northern Palawan, an estimated total damage of P7.8 billion was documented throughout the province, including its capital of Puerto Princesa City.

Lawyer Christian Jay Cojamco, the Palawan provincial information officer, estimated the damages on agriculture and farm structure; government and private infrastructure; utilities system; and residential houses at P7.5 billion, based on a partial assessment of 11 Palawan towns.

He said Monday that the “hardest hit” municipality of Roxas alone recorded P5.7 billion; Dumaran with P1.1 billion; San Vicente with P49 million; Araceli with P471 million; Kalayaan with P39 million; Taytay with P133.4 million; Quezon with P2.5 million; Cagayancillo with P52 million; Aborlan with P4.3 million; Brooke’s Point with P1 million; Linapacan P137, 000; and Puerto Princesa City with P281.3 million.

The provincial government will use the 2021 surplus budget of around P200 million, as an initial rehabilitation fund, as the province eyes typhoon rehabilitation to go full swing by next year.

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“Kulang na kulang for now. By next year, we will include annual budget for rehabilitation or re-align budget. Rehabilitation will be a choice between new projects and buhay ng ating mga residents sa affected areas. We have to sacrifice some of the projects,” Cojamco said.

However, Cojamco pointed out that “no Palawenyo will be hungry” this holiday season, as the government and private entities continue to aid typhoon victims.

“We acknowledge na mahirap maging effective, at least we make sure we there will be no hungry stomach. Hindi magiging bongga ang ating handa, pero walang magugutom,” Cojamco added.

Typhoon Odette has left 24 casualties, including 14 deaths in Puerto Princesa City, nine in Roxas, and one in San Vicente.

Nine were still reported missing—five in Roxas; two in Aborlan; and one each in San Vicente and Puerto Princesa City.

Around 94,997 families had been affected — 71,591 families from Palawan, and 23,406 in Puerto Princesa. Of the total families, more than 7,000 families remained in the evacuation centers 10 days after the typhoon hit the island province.

The Palawan Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) has set aside some P12 million as financial assistance to residence, providing around P3,000 cash to affected families based on the roster provided by the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO).

On top of this, rehabilitation assistance between P5,000 to P10,000 will also be provided to each household depending on the type of damage and materials, to be assessed by the Provincial Engineering Office (PEO).

The initial rehabilitation funds were drawn from the assistance given by the Office of the President with P118 million; and P30 million from the provincial government.

The provincial government also gave a stern warning against profiteering of the local business establishments who were taking advantage of the onslaught of typhoon.

“We will close down your business. We are already coordinating with DTI. We will give warning to businesses na hindi sumusunod sa price freeze at nagte-take ng opportunity sa sakuna,” Cojamco said.

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is a desk editor and senior reporter of Palawan News. He covers politics, environment, tourism, justice, and sports. In his free time, he enjoys long walks with his dog, Bayani.