DOTC agencies to step up rescue, relief operations for Visayas quake victims

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Secretary of Transportation and Communications Mar Roxas today directed the heads of the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), Land Transportation Office (LTO), Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), and Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) to immediately conduct emergency transport, rescue, and relief operations to areas devastated on Monday by the 6.9 magnitude earthquake that hit the Visayas region.
Roxas had just come from the earthquake-hit province of Negros Oriental, where he accompanied President Benigno S. Aquino III to oversee rescue and relief operations, particularly in Guihulngan, one of areas badly hit by the mishap. Roxas and the President landed at Dumaguete City and proceeded to Guihulngan, where the number of casualties was at 29.
Upon returning to Manila, Roxas issued a memorandum to all Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) attached agencies, particularly the Coast Guard and MARINA, to spearhead rescue and emergency transport of critical cargoes to the hard-hit areas, which he and President Aquino had visited.
“I have ordered the DOTC attached agencies to coordinate with the DSWD and the Philippine Red Cross and their local offices on the prioritization of areas that badly need emergency transportation requirements of relief goods, medicines and others,” he said.
Roxas added that his directive extends to public utility operators, who are grantees of Certificates of Pubic Convenience (CPCs), to provide emergency transport services (for free or with discounts) in the duration of the emergency.
Earlier, the DOTC-PCG dispatched two ships, the BRP Davao Del Norte (SARV-3504) and BRP Pampanga (SARV-003), to Dumaguete to help search for uunaccounted victims of the disaster. The PCG’s Helo 1636 aircraft, with Phivolcs personnel on board, had also conducted aerial surveys of earthquake-damaged areas.
Coast Guard Commandant Vice Admiral Edmund C Tan said the vessels were tasked to help the local government in whatever capacity they can. He said the deployment was directed by Roxas, who had ordered the PCG to offer all out assistance to the affected local governments.
Aside from these vessels, PCG aircrafts where also put on alert for possible deployment, while PCG units and PCG auxiliaries close to the areas affected by the earthquake, were also directed to help the local governments.