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Cebu Governor declares state of calamity

Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia on Friday has declared a State of Calamity over the entire province due to the damage brought- about by the onslaught of Typhoon Odette.

"I have issued an Executive Order, I think at around 10:30 or 11 this morning. So I want to inform all our mayors that a State of Calamity has been declared, in order to guide the accordingly especially in the access of disaster funds," she told reporters.

She said the priority at this time in the efforts of the provincial government in assisting local government units affected by the storm is the conduct of clearing operations.

"Sa atong biyahe nato karon, clearing operations sa dalan man unta para naay access (During our trip today, (I have observed that) clearing operations on the roads, so there would be access (to the towns)," Garcia said.

She called a meeting with contractors on Saturday to ask them to offer their equipment - to the chainsaws and back hoes - in order to clear national roads and barangay roads.

Garcia will also coordinate with mayors to identify the barangays that need immediate access.

There are food packets, that include rice and canned goods, have already been prepared in advance.

"Pero, akong nakita, ang pinaka importante karon is the rebuilding of their houses," she said.

"We will provide the families with, first of all, with G.I. sheets, plywood, kaning framing, kaning kahoy, lansang. In a way that is, murag i-package nato per family," she added.

Garcia said the provincial government will looking for a way to issue coupons that residents can use to redeem building materials from hardware stores.

She also noted that there is not much casualties reported.

"Maybe because of the preparedness of our local chief executives and their respective DRRMOs, we are not hearing of much casualties. Ang kuan lang gyud, infra damage, infrastructure damage," she said

Garcia will meet with officials from the power utility companies to determine when the power can be restored in the province.

"We understand they really have a gargantuan task. You saw all of the electrical posts, the wires that have been ravaged and are down. So, I hope that by the time I meet with them, duna silay assessment so we can also tell the public kung unsay expectation nila na maibalik ang kuryente," she said, referring to Visayan Electric Company (VECO) and Cebu Electric Cooperative (CEBECO).

"In the meantime also, I will be asking contractors kung duna silay mga extra generating sets para lang to secure the important government facilities that may not have (generators)," she added.

Garcia also mentioned the need to safeguard the integrity of the COVID-19 vaccines that have already been distributed.

She said these have to be returned, for the meantime, so as to preserve them. -- BAP, GMA News