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Duterte places entire Luzon under state of calamity

President Rodrigo Duterte has placed the entire Luzon under state of calamity following the onslaught of typhoons Rolly and Ulysses in consecutive weeks.

In a briefing on Tuesday night, Duterte said he already signed on Monday the papers placing the island under a state of calamity.

“Mukhang napirmahan ko na ata last night, I think I signed the proclamation,” Duterte said.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) on Monday recommended the declaration of state of calamity over the whole of Luzon due to the damage brought by the typhoons amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It was approved during the meeting the recommendation for President Rodrigo Duterte to place under state of calamity the entire Luzon to address the impacts of the latest typhoons that hit the country," NDRRMC executive director Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad said on Monday.

"It was also agreed during the meeting to convene a technical working group of the joint prevention, mitigation, and preparedness clusters of the NDRRMC to assess the current dam management," he added.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who is also the NDRRMC chairperson, tasked weather bureau PAGASA to revisit its historical data to intensify warnings beforehand.

During the meeting, Lorenzana raised various issues to concerned agencies such as the provision of assistance to affected farmers and fisherfolks, road clearing, shelter requirements, and other recovery interventions.

Funds utilization

The President, upon the recommendation of the NDRRMC, may declare a cluster of barangays, municipalities, cities, provinces, regions under a state of calamity, and lift such declaration.

The President’s declaration may warrant request for and acceptance of international humanitarian assistance upon the recommendation of the NDRRMC.

In areas declared under a state of calamity, the Quick Response Fund or stand-by fund may be utilized for relief and recovery programs in order that situation and living conditions of people in communities or areas stricken by disaster, calamities, epidemics or complex emergencies may be normalized as quickly as possible.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund may also be released to augment local funds for relief and rehabilitation efforts.

Under the state of calamity, there shall also be no price increase among basic commodities as stated in Republic Act 7581.

Under Section 6 of the Price Act, it is stated that "if the prevailing price of any basic necessity is excessive or unreasonable, the implementing agency may recommend to the President the imposition of a price ceiling for the sale of the basic necessity at a price other than its prevailing price."

String of typhoons

Strong storms pounded Luzon in the previous weeks, claiming the lives of dozens of individuals and leaving thousands of families homeless.

Typhoon Quinta left three people dead in Negros Oriental and Marinduque. A total of 843 evacuation centers were also utilized across Cordillera Administrative Region, the National Capital Region, Region III, CALABARZON, MIMAROPA, Region V, Region VI, Region VII, and Region VIII to cater to the affected people.

Super Typhoon Rolly, which was branded as the world's strongest typhoon in 2020, brought extensive damage to the Bicol Region, especially in the provinces of Albay and Catanduanes. Catanduanes was deemed isolated due to the destruction brought by Rolly.

Rolly affected over two million people from Regions I, II, III, CALABARZON, MIMAROPA, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, CAR and NCR. The super typhoon also claimed the lives of at least 25 individuals and hurt more than 300 others.

Meanwhile, Typhoon Ulysses lashed areas in Central Luzon, Northern Luzon and even Metro Manila. The death toll was at 67 as of Monday, while injured victims were at 21.-NB/LDF, GMA News