Roxas: Pablo caught Davao Oriental with a 'right hook'

Posted at 12/14/12 6:46 PM

PNoy wants to fast-track delivery of Pablo aid

MANILA, Philippines – Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas said the residents of the three Davao Oriental coastal towns were caught off guard by the devastation of Typhoon Pablo.

Roxas said the towns were hit by a “right hook,” a reference to the punch that knocked out boxing champion Manny Pacquiao in his most recent fight.

“’Yung Cateel, Boston at Baganga, these are all coastal towns. Mga fishing villages ito. Kaya noong dito tumama ‘yung Pablo, parang na-right hook sila. Talagang tinamaan sila,” Roxas told dzMM’s “Pasada Sais Trenta” on Friday.

According to latest data from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, more than 400 people were killed in Davao Oriental alone.

Roxas said local authorities found to have practiced “gross negligence” in implementing disaster plans will face sanctions, but stressed that he sympathizes with the mayors who are not accustomed to dealing with typhoons.

“Ang problema, the last major storm na tumama sa lugar na ito is 1912. Wala ngang taong buhay na nakakaalala kung ano ang bagyo, ano ang signal number 1 at signal number 2. Hindi nila ma-imagine eh,” he said.

Roxas said it has also been an “accepted wisdom” that typhoons rarely hit Mindanao.
“Parang conventional wisdom na ‘yan kaya lahat ng agriculture diyan binabagsak,” he said.

Relief efforts

Roxas also said the President wants to speed up relief efforts in the typhoon-hit towns in Mindanao.

Roxas said that although there has been a steady flow of supply being sent to the devastated areas of Cateel, Boston and Baganga, there is some delay because of damaged roads and bridges.

“Patuloy na tinutulak ng Pangulo ang mabilis na pagdating doon ng relief goods. Ang problema ay hindi masyado sa relief goods pero nasa-stuck up sila sa mga paliparan at ports,” Roxas said.

“Ang relief goods ay unti-unting dumadating pero lalo pang pinapabilis ng Pangulo,” he added.

Roxas said the President has also ordered the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to complete the geohazard map in the affected areas.

“Para hindi na sila magtayo ulit sa delikadong lugar kasi kung itatayo muli sa delikadong lugar parang nag-imbita lang tayo ng paguulit sa trahedyang ito,” he said.

The death toll from Pablo has reached 906, with hundreds more still missing.