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PIA Press Release

President flies to Region 12 Monday to assess ongoing relief operations for typhoon victims

Manila (21 July) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will preside over the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council (RDCC) meeting in Polomolok, South Cotabato on Monday and assess the ongoing relief and rehabilitation efforts in Region 12 which was among the areas worst-hit by Typhoon Frank last month.

Region 12 officials will also attend the RDCC meeting to be held at the Kalsangi Clubhouse of the Del Monte Philippines Corporation in Polomolok.

Among the President's welcomers are South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Fuentes, Mindanao Economic Development Council (MEDCO) Chairman Virgilio Leyretana, DOLE Philippines vice president Kevin Davis, Polomolok Mayor Isidro Lumayag, and RDCC-12 chairman Chief Supt. Felizardo Serapio Jr., who is also the regional director of the police regional office (PRO-12).

Expected to join the President are Sen. Miguel Zubiri, NDCC Chairman and Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro, Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, Trade and Industry Secretary Peter Favila, Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes, Press Secretary Jesus Dureza, Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Jake Lagonera, and Finance Secretary Margarito Teves, the Cabinet Officer for Regional Development (CORD) in Region 12.

The President will be briefed by Serapio on the status of relief distribution and the rehabilitation plan for Region 12, which comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and the cities of Koronadal, Tacurong, General Santos, Kidapawan, and Cotabato City.

Typhoon Frank pummeled Region 12 last month affecting more than 49,000 families and leaving in its wake P2.35 billion worth of damage to infrastructure, agriculture, livestock and properties.

Aside from strong winds, the typhoon also caused widespread flooding with some areas, particularly near Liguasan Marsh, still under water until now.

The flooding was attributed mainly to the heavy siltation of the Liguasan Marsh which, in turn, was blamed on the massive deforestation in the area and the dumping of garbage.

Liguasan Marsh is a vast, 220,000-hectare complex of extensive marshes, river channels, lakes and ponds considered as the biggest refuge of migratory birds in the country. It is located in the Mindanao River basin in south-central Mindanao, North Cotabato and South Cotabato Provinces.

Serapio said the distribution of relief goods to the typhoon victims is continuing.

He also called attention to the urgent need for dredging and engineering works in the marsh to facilitate the egress of floodwaters particularly in the Cotabato area.

The President has been conducting a non-stop relief distribution effort and help victims of Typhoon Frank out of their present predicament. (PIA-MMIO) [top]

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