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Friday, July 26, 2024

Temporary burial for landslide dead

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Seventeen unidentified bodies recovered from the landslide in Barangay Masara in Maco, Davao de Oro will be buried temporarily on Wednesday, the local government said.

This developed as President Marcos thanked the United States government for extending emergency assistance to communities affected by flooding and landslides in Mindanao, Malacañang said.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council also has adopted a resolution amending the guidelines on access to the NDRRM Fund for the repair, reconstruction, and rehabilitation of infrastructure in disaster-stricken areas.

The Maco local government appealed to the kin of those missing to visit the two funeral homes where the recovered bodies were brought following the landslide.

Search and retrieval operations at ground zero continue, a day after rescue efforts officially ended, but authorities earlier said identifying the victims remains a challenge.

The 17 bodies, which currently remain unidentified or unrecognized, will undergo temporary burial as part of the health protocols based on the recommendation of the municipal health officer.

The bodies will not be embalmed and will be placed in cadaver bags, as a sign of respect to the beliefs of their kin.

The Maco local government said there will be markings where the bodies will be buried for easier identification.

The LGU said there are now 67 bodies and four “body parts” recovered from the landslide.

In a statement, Presidential Communications Office Secretary Cheloy Garafil said Mr. Marcos relayed his expression of gratitude when US Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson paid him a visit at Malacañan Palace in Manila on Tuesday.

“Carlson told President Marcos that Washington is pleased to bring two C-130s from Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM), although it is not the cheapest or the easiest way to deliver foreign assistance,” Garafil said.

During her courtesy call on Mr. Marcos at Malacañang, Carlson said the US government has also extended USD1.25 million (P70.21 million) in emergency support, in addition to the aid delivered by two US C-130s.

Mr. Marcos cited the importance of Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) sites for disaster relief and response and encouraged Carlson to make full use of those facilities.

“There’s so much that can be done more efficiently through the mechanism that exists… but sometimes you just need an extra push, and it is also a good demonstration of how good the alliance can deliver,” Carlson told the President, as quoted by the PCO.

Carlson assured Marcos that teams from INDOPACOM, US Agency for International Development, and Joint US Military Assistance Group are ready to aid the Philippines, if need be.

She also lauded the Department of Social Welfare and Development in coordinating the relief supplies for typhoon and landslide victims in Mindanao.

Mr. Marcos earlier ordered the release of around P265 million to augment the relief assistance for the calamity victims in the region.

The financial assistance was on top of the emergency fund transfer provided by the government to the affected families in the region.

Marcos also visited Davao City on Feb. 7 in the wake of flooding and landslides triggered by the shear line and the trough of low-pressure area.

Meanwhile, the measure was tackled during Tuesday’s emergency full council meeting presided over by NDRRMC chair and Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr., the agency said in a news release.

The council tackled the amendments that seek to expand the access of the local government units to the NDRRM Fund.

The resolution revokes the guidelines specified in the NDRRMC Memorandum Circular No. 1 series of 2024 that prioritize only the 4th to 6th income class LGUs and require 1st to 3rd income class LGUs for a local counterpart fund.

The resolution stated that the “NDRRM Fund may be utilized to repair, reconstruct or rehabilitate local or national infrastructure regardless of income classification when such are vital for access and connectivity and are necessary for response or early recovery as certified by the Regional Directors of the OCD (Office of Civil Defense) and the DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) in disaster-affected regions.”

Meanwhile, the local counterpart fund refers to the portion of the approved requested fund that the LGUs must shoulder depending on their income class.

With the adoption of the resolution, the counterpart funding requirement is now repealed.

Under Section 22 of the Republic Act 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010, the “National DRRM Fund shall also be utilized for relief, recovery, reconstruction, and other work or services in connection with natural or human-induced calamities which occur during the budget year or those that occurred in the past two years from the budget year.”

The NDRRMC acknowledged that support from the national government is critical in ensuring the resilient recovery of disaster-affected areas, given the severe effects of disasters and the depletion of LGUs’ limited resources. With Charles Dantes

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