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PBBM: Power, rice needs of North come first after ‘Egay’

Prioritize power restoration and ensure rice supply for families affected by Typhoon “Egay,” President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. ordered officials on Saturday as he visited Northern Luzon, where at least four provinces and five areas declared states of calamity.

“Again, rice, for me, is the most important,” the President said during a situational briefing with government officials in Abra before flying to Tuguegarao City to check Cagayan Province as well and distribute financial assistance.

He said that the government needs to find other rice suppliers to help National Food Authority in producing rice.

PBBM IN CAGAYAN. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. leads a situation meeting in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan on Saturday. Mr. Marcos turned over P15 million worth of assistance to the provincial government, and P3 million each to the local governmentunits of Sanchez Mira, Aparri, Sta. Ana, Abulug, Cagayan and Sta. Teresita. Prior to Cagayan, the President was in Laoag, Ilocos Norte, and Bangued, Abra. Alfred Frias

In a post-typhoon situation briefing in Ilocos Norte with the President, officials said total Region 1 infrastructure damage due to Egay was estimated at P2.8 billion.

On Friday, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said the storm has caused an estimated P2.66 billion worth of damage to road infrastructure nationwide.

Agricultural damage in Ilocos Norte alone was estimated at P361 million.

“I’m looking at the report of the DOE (Department of Energy). So, what do we do? Of course, we are only at 2.5, 3 percent in terms of our electrification,” he said.

Based on the DOE report, Ilocos Sur is at 37 percent while Cagayan is at 42 percent. Abra (Banged only), Pangasinan, and Isabela are nearing 100 percent power restoration, it added. Mr. Marcos thus ordered the swift power recovery in both Ilocos provinces and the Cordillera Administrative Region.

The Chief Executive added that the government is also monitoring the prices of vegetables as farms were also affected by Egay.

Asked if the government will resort to importation, Mr. Marcos said he is thinking of bringing in rice from other countries.

He shared his worries about the possible repercussion of the El Niño phenomenon and the agricultural damage the country received from Egay.

“Everybody is preparing for El Niño, that’s why I’m worried that the high prices of rice might remain even if we start importing,” said Mr. Marcos.

“We will not import any agriculture (product) unless we see that the supply is so low that the prices will be out of reach for the ordinary consumer,” the President added.

Power restoration might take a little while with the huge numbers of toppled electric posts and damaged power lines, according to the President.

“That’s why it’s going to take a little time. So, of course, we’re going to do it as quickly as possible but… we cannot rush it,” he said.

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