MANILA, Philippines (PNA) — President Benigno S. Aquino III made an assurance Tuesday that the government is on top of the situation as typhoon Pedring battered Luzon, devastating mostly agricultural areas.
“I am in constant touch with these members of my cabinet and the Executive Secretary has been instructed to keep me and the public informed of conditions pertaining as well as mitigation efforts,” the President said in a statement he issued in Japan.
The President is in Japan for a four-day official working visit there. He is due to arrive in Manila on Wednesday.
“I have been in touch with Secretaries Soliman, Gazmin, and Almendras. I have instructed the Executive Secretary to compile information from NDRRMC (National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council) and to inform our people of conditions as well as of government efforts to mitigate the effects of the storm,” he said.
The President said he was informed by Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman about two typhoon-related casualties. He also got the report about severe flooding in Maguindanao.
The government has prepared and distributed relief packs to people in Mindanao who were affected by flooding there, he said.
In Camarines Sur and Albay, the President said preventive evacuations are ongoing. There is also the report of blackouts with 37 percent of Meralco service area without power due to tripping caused by high winds.
In Aurora and Isabela, the government is awaiting the passage of the storm to restore power service, he said.
The government is also closely monitoring the Marikina River although it is not yet in the critical level, President Aquino said adding there is ongoing voluntary evacuations of Marikina residents.
Typhoon Pedring slammed into the Philippines Tuesday, killing two persons as it brought heavy rain and strong wind that blew away roofs, uprooted small trees and toppled power lines.
The typhoon hit the northeastern side of Luzon before dawn, bringing maximum sustained winds of up to 140 kilometers an hour and gusts clocking in at 170 kilometers an hour, according to PAGASA.
It said the provinces of Isabela and Aurora were the most heavily affected initially, although storm alerts were also issued in more than 40 other areas including Metro Manila.