DOE: Power restored in Catanduanes by Xmas

VIRAC, Catanduanes --- Department of Energy (DOE) Usec. Felix William “Wimpy” Fuentebella said that power in Catanduanes will be restored before Christmas.

In a virtual press briefing of Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque at the province’s Capitol Building on Thursday, Nov. 5, Fuentebella said that DOE is now prioritizing the purchase of supplies to be used by linemen in the restoration of electricity, thus the target of completion is before December 25.

“We are attempting at the order of Secretary Cusi na before pasko. So we are working double time, we need to purchase first yung mga listahan ng ating kailangan bilhin bago natin maitayo ang mga tower dyan,” Fuentebella said.

Fuentebella also said that restoration of power in Virac town and other severely damaged areas by super Typhoon “Rolly” in the province will take one to two weeks.

“We were able to send already teams ng mga linemen papunta sa Bicol region. Nandyan na sila sa Albay at nakapag-coordinate na din tayo sa general manager at president ng First Catanduanes Electric Cooperative. So number 1 ang update po dyan, nagpadala si Secretary Cusi ng coordinator ng Department of Energy dyan mismo sa Catanduanes, he is on his way there para mag-coordinate doon sa pag-assess, alamin kung ano ang kalagayan ng mga tao, ng mga equipment and these are the following that we are already gathered as of last night. Number 1, all employees and board of directors and officers of Ficelco are all safe,” he said.

“Number 2, about the distribution system 60 percent of the post structures are toppled, ibig sabihin talaga pong nasira and 30 percent are leaning poles. Number 3, only the building is slightly damaged. Number 4, yung tao namin hahanapin na yung mga operators ng hydroplant, kasama yung National Power Corporation. Number 5, we are already purchasing the supplies para pagdating dyan ng mga linemen natin at saka ng Task Force Kapatid dirediretso na ang trabaho,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sec. Roque also personally assessed the situation of the province and connected local government officials with national government officials on response efforts in the aftermath of the super typhoon.

During the briefing, Roque said that part of the assistance, the national government gave 60 tons of relief goods and supplies including bottled drinking water that were carried by the Philippine Coast Guard’s BRP Gabriela Silang. These relief items will be distributed to the severely affected families in Virac, Catanduanes.

Those farmers affected by the super typhoon, the Department of Agriculture (DA), through the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC), has allotted P592.4 million as indemnification fund for 32,761 farmers in the Bicol region whose insured crops were damaged during the typhoon.

According to the DA, PCIC-insured farmers and fishers in the Bicol region will receive insurance claims ranging from P10, 000 to P15,000 for their crops, farm equipment, fishing boats and gears damaged by “Rolly”.

Affected families will also get housing loans through a calamity loan program where all eligible members can make a loan up to 80 percent of their total Pagibig contributions.

“Nangako po si Secretary Bello ng pondo para sa 5,000 TUPAD, yung cash for work, para nga po malinis ang mga daan ng makarating po sa mga liblib na lugar ang relief goods,” Roque added.

Catanduanes was severely hit by the super typhoon early morning on Sunday, November 1, 2020. At least 35, 222 families or 142, 478 individuals in the province were affected.

There were 7, 814 displaced individuals in evacuation centers and some 45, 886 in private houses, Catanduanes Gov. Joseph Cua disclosed during the press briefing.

Cua said that although six persons died and one is still missing due to the typhoon, he was thankful that preemptive evacuations minimized the number of would-be casualties.

With all the damages and needs of affected areas, Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Sec. Wendel Avisado assured local government units (LGUs) that they can access some government agencies’ quick response funds. However, Avisado said that these quick response funds cannot be released directly to LGUs and that the direct requests should come from the Office of the Civil Defense. (PIA-Region5)