VIRAC, Catanduanes — The national government, together with private telecommunication companies, have ramped up efforts to immediately restore telco lines and power in Catanduanes. Communication abd power in the province have been totally cut off after Super Typhoon Rolly ravaged the island province over the weekend.
Office of Civil Defense (OCD) administrator Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad, said representatives of giant telcos [Globe and Smart] “are part of our disaster planning for Typhoon Rolly. In my engagement with them earlier, they were already doing something about the immediate restoration of telco services in Catanduanes.”
Jalad said various teams are already prepositioned in typhoon-hit areas for communication and line restoration particularly in Catanduanes.
The OCD-Rapid Emergency Telecommunications team has established a communication signal using the ‘Very Small Aperture Terminal’ (VSAT), a communications system via satelite, to communicate with the Catanduanes provincial government.
Catanduanes Gov. Joseph Cua has requested the national government to help the province in restoring destroyed telco services to allow the residents to communicate with their families outside the typhoon-hit areas.
“We are requesting telco companies to immediately restore their services so that families of the Catanduanes residents residing in Metro Manila or abroad could contact them,” Cua said in Filipino.
Jalad said the national government has also deployed officials in Catanduanes to conduct an immediate damage assessment, identify priority needs, augment resources as well as response operations of its local government units.
He said the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will provide more relief assistance in Bicol starting today, Tuesday, while a C130 flight for Catanduanes will be dispatched to provide food packs and potable drinking water to the typhoon-hit residents.
Cua said they utilized safely-located public schools in the province as evacuation centers, to move residents living in coastal towns and low-lying areas prone to storm surge, landslides, and flooding. He said they have recorded five casualties and four injured so far since the typhoon hit Catanduanes.
He also shared that some 80 percent of electric posts, transformers and other electric facilities manned by local cooperatives have been destroyed by Typhoon Rolly.
Cua said an estimated 15,000 families were affected by storm surges, and many roads connecting the 11 towns of the province remain impassable as of Monday.
Department of Energy Undersecretary Felix Fuentebella, for his part, assured that all energy-related assistance will be provided for Catanduanes. He said the DOE’s Task Force ‘Kapatid’ has already revved up disaster response efforts, prioritizing assistance for Catanduanes, Albay, Camarines Sur, and other areas in the Bicol Region.