Government releases 4.8 billion pesos for typhoon survivors

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Manila-bound truck drivers celebrate Christmas in a makeshift tent along the highway in Surigao city after being stranded due to damage to the Lipata port terminal by Super Typhoon Odette. PHOTO BY ERWIN M. MASCARI ر AS

The national government on Wednesday released about 4.8 billion pesos in emergency financial assistance to low-income families severely affected by Typhoon “Odette” (international name: Rai).

During a press briefing, Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, spokesperson for the Home Office and Local Government (DILG), said qualified family members would each receive P 1,000 in cash. The maximum amount per family, however, would be P5,000.

Malaysia added that the DILG, along with the Ministry of Social Protection and Development and the Ministry of National Defense, had signed a joint circular memorandum listing the implementation guidelines for the distribution of the money.

The cash assistance will go directly to local governments in provinces currently in a state of disaster.

They have 15 calendar days to distribute the funds, although an extension can be granted, Malaya said.

The power is back

Before distribution, local governments should publish the list of beneficiaries on social media. In places without electricity or internet connection, copies of the list should be posted in three prominent places in the barangay.

The allocation by local government will be based on a local budget circular to be released by the Department of Budget and Management on Wednesday. The Energy Ministry, meanwhile, reported that power had been restored to more areas affected by Odette, although some would have to wait longer due to difficulties faced by restoration crews.

On Wednesday, representatives of the National Electrification Administration (NEA), the National Power Corp. (Napocor) and the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines said the start of electricity transmission and distribution in the Visayas and Mindanao continued to be hampered by the severe effects of the typhoon two weeks after making landfall.

These included the intermittent signal at restoration sites and the accessibility of those sites to contingency teams; bad weather, especially in Bohol; difficult terrain, especially in remote areas; and inaccessibility of fuel.

Not before February for Palawan

In Palawan, Delta P Inc.’s transmission line to Roxas substation may not be energized until February, according to Napocor.

Despite the setbacks, Energy Director Mario Marasigan said all transmission lines in Mindanao have already been restored and are ready for transmission.

In the Visayan region, actual demand for electricity reached 1,101 megawatts, or 82% of the island group’s available generation capacity.

NEA, the agency in charge of electric co-operatives in the provinces, said 55.73 percent of its covered homes had already been restored while of the 87 plants running under Napocor, which oversees electricity in remote areas, 69 were operational while 10 were on standby. , and eight were still under evaluation.

Marasigan added that Bohol, one of the hardest-hit provinces, could get partial electricity by tomorrow. INQ

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