'Pablo' victims urged: Don't return to danger zones

Posted at 12/06/12 5:21 PM

MANILA, Philippines -- Local officials have been directed not to allow residents displaced by typhoon "Pablo" (international codename Bopha) to return to their homes in areas classified as danger zones, Vice President Jejomar Binay said in a statement on Thursday.

Local officials and police in Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental and Surigao del Sur were told that the order came from President Benigno Aquino III.

Binay said, "For their own safety, residents should not be allowed to return to danger zones.”

Binay flew to Mindanao on Thursday to assess the conditions of residents of Cateel in Davao Oriental and New Bataan in Compostela Valley, which were devastated by the typhoon on Tuesday.

He also visited the town of Lingig in Surigao del Sur.

The vice president also appealed to the private sector to help in providing relief goods to victims who are still staying in evacuation areas across the provinces.

“Kailangang tumulong ang lahat, gobyerno at ang private sector. Ang immediate need ay ang makakain ang mga naapektuhan," he said.

Binay said that his office will be distributing 10,000 bags containing noodles, biscuits and canned goods in Davao Oriental, Surigao del Sur and Compostela Valley.

Binay also expressed concern over the damages left by typhoon Pablo.

About 500 hectares of agricultural land, particularly banana and coconut plantations, were affected.

Crops and agricultural losses have already amounted to about P5 billion, he said.

Binay, also the chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordination Council, said he will ask the national government to assist in providing new homes for the victims.

He also reminded victims who are members of the Home Development Mutual (Pag-IBIG) Fund that they can apply for calamity loans.