CALOOCAN CITY, Oct. 31 (PIA) -- President Rodrigo Roa Duterte assures immediate assistance to areas affected by Typhoon Rolly, according to Senator Christopher "Bong" Go on Saturday.
During the Laging Handa public briefing hosted by the Presidential Communications Operations Office, Go said he and the President continuosly monitor the preparedness measures being implemented as the Philippines braces for 'Rolly,' said to be the world's strongest tropical cyclone for 2020 so far.
"The President and myself are constantly monitoring and the President ensures immediate assistance to areas to be affected by typhoon Rolly," Go said.
"The President is in Mindanao monitoring all the government preparations and he is ready to return to Manila, if the weather permits," the senator added.
He said the government, from national agencies down to local government units (LGUs), are prepared for the typhoon with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) being on top of the situation.
"[The] NDRRMC continue to meet, send out advisories to the LGUs. The LGUs, on the other hand, do pre-emptive evacuation to ensure the safety of the people.
Go also assured that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has also prepositioned relief goods in areas at risk of being hit by Rolly.
Likewise, he said the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) have placed their personnel and heavy machinery equipment on standby for quick response. "The DPWH is ready with their equipment."
"I talked with DBM [Department of Budget and Management] Secretary [Wendel E. Avisado] to help LGUs with funds for food, medicines etc especially that the LGUs had exhausted their calamity funds due to the pandemic," Go explained.
"I'm asking for ensuring safety in our evacuation centers, for evacuees to strictly observe health protocols; my office is ready to help, can donate face masks, handwashing areas," he added.
"I can be a bridge for LGUs to the President or the Executive branch," he furthered.
Meanwhile, Go said there is a need to scale up the proposed Department of Disaster Resilience.
"I am asking the senators to fast-track the approval of this bill. There should be one highly specialized department to handle all areas of disaster management - reduction, preparedness, response, recovery and building forward," he said.
According to the latest bulletin of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), the typhoon will likely pass close to Metro Manila between Sunday evening and Monday morning after its expected landfall over Aurora-Quezon province Sunday.
The severe weather disturbance could bring intense rain in parts of Luzon beginning evening of Oct. 31.
Rolly, said to be the world's strongest tropical cyclone for 2020 so far, maintained its strength early Saturday morning, with maximum sustained winds of 215 kph and gustiness of up to 265 kph. If its maximum sustained winds exceed 220 kph, it would be classified as a super typhoon.
Pagasa, however, said Rolly is not likely to develop into a super typhoon.
According to Raymond Ordinario, weather specialist at Pagasa, as the cyclone is expected to make landfall and hit hard Quezon, Aurora and Bicol region area Sunday evening, or Monday early morning, "it is unlikely to become a super typhoon but we are not completely ruling out the possibility because it continues to intensify." (PIA NCR)