Malacanang says government doing everything to save lives and help quake victims in Negros Oriental

February 9, 2012 11:32 pm 

MANILA, Feb. 9 — Malacanang defended from criticisms government response in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that hit Negros Oriental saying the government will do everything to save human lives and help the victims recover from the tragedy.

The government was being criticized for the slow conduct of rescue operations in the devastated areas in the Guihulngan City and La Libertad in Negros Oriental.

“You have to take into consideration the physical difficulties there. Ina-assess ng DPWH ang mga lugar ngayon, kausap ko si Secretary Babes Singson kanina at sinabi nga n’ya na ina-assess nila. Marami na silang na-assess yung kalye, yung market,” Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in an interview in Malacanang on Thursday.

“So we are going to do everything possible to make sure that their lives would go back to normal,” he added. Lacierda also said saving human lives is a priority of the government adding that the lives of the people are valuable.

President Benigno S. Aquino III celebrated his 52nd birthday on Wednesday visiting disaster areas in Negros Oriental, assessing the damage as well as overseeing ongoing relief and reconstruction efforts.

The Chief Executive issued several directives to various government agencies working to help the victims recover from the tragedy. He ordered that roads and bridges must be repaired or rerouted so that basic goods could reach the victims, particularly food, water, medicines and clothing.

The police and the military were also instructed to provide security and maintain order as relief workers distribute goods to the victims. The police and the military are also expected to secure stores as they start regular operations.

The government also announced more than P5-million budget to fund cash-for-work program that will help residents get employment and at the same time rebuild their communities.

According to the figure released by the provincial government of Negros Oriental on Wednesday, 26 persons died in the quake with 50 still missing. The quake also resulted to about P665 million worth of damage to infrastructure and affected economic activity in the province.

A separate figure from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said more than 12,000 families were affected by Monday’s earthquake. (PNA)

DCT/PCOO/ssc

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