ASSISTED. Department of Environment and Natural Resources employees residing in the southern part of Negros Occidental and who were badly affected by Typhoon Odette receive assistance on Dec. 20, 2021. Water, rice, first-aid kits, and clothes were immediately dispatched to the victims. (Photo courtesy of PENRO-Negros Occidental)
MANILA – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has mounted initial relief operations and vowed further assistance to communities hit hard by Typhoon Odette.
Right after the December 16 and 17 onslaught of the typhoon, DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu tasked Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns Benny Antiporda to lead relief operations in Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte.
“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 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.
The DENR also provided support, particularly cash assistance, to affected communities and DENR employees 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,” Cimatu said. “With this, I will extend all my powers and privileges being the Secretary of the DENR. We will come to their rescue.”
Cimatu promised that the DENR will find a way to resettle the communities.
“To the people of Siargao and all the other victims of Typhoon Odette, the DENR will be beside you in this problem,” Cimatu said. (PR)