After being hit hard by Super Typhoon ‘Yolanda’ (Haiyan), Tacloban City is now accessible by land, a Malacañang official said Sunday.
Secretary to the Cabinet Jose Rene Almendras said at a media briefing in Roxas City in Capiz that Tacloban City can now be reached via the San Juanico Bridge through southern Luzon.
“I hope all of you, please let the rest of the country know that Tacloban is now accessible through the road from southern Luzon,” Almendras told media representatives at the briefing.
News Alert: “Tyhphoon Zoraida” has just entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility at about 4:00 AM, southeast of Surigao del Sur, Signal 1 on parts of Mindanao.
He added Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya will talk to representatives of bus companies when he returns to Manila to schedule trips to Tacloban City.
Almendras and Abaya were among the Cabinet members who accompanied President Benigno Aquino III to ‘Yolanda’-hit areas to inspect the extent of the damage.
On the other hand, Almendras said there is a need to step up the repacking of relief goods from Cebu, which he said is the closest logistics center to support the needs of Tacloban.
Also, he expressed optimism the telecommunications situation in Tacloban City will “continue to improve,” now that telecommunications equipment are being brought in.
Tacloban City was one of the areas hit hard by ‘Yolanda,’ which lashed parts of Visayas and Luzon last Friday before exiting the Philippine area of responsibility.
Meanwhile, Almendras said the northern part of Samar was not adversely affected by the typhoon, adding it was the southeast part that was affected.
“The problem of Samar is going to be on the southeast portion. But Borongan is okay also, so it is between Borongan all the way down to Guiuan where we are presently trying to operate,” he said.
Also, Almendras said the government learned much from the experience with Tropical Cyclone Pablo, particularly the need to have forward command centers for rescue, relief and eventual rehabilitation.
He said Roxas City was selected as the forward command center for Western Visayas. From that command center, he said the police, military and other government agencies will be working out of Roxas City.
“From here, we want to reach to all the other areas that are affected,” he said.
He added Iloilo City has been designated as a logistics center from where goods and resources may be sent to Roxas City. For now, he said they are rushing the repacking of relief goods.
Almendras also said the government’s immediate concern is still on those who survived the storm surges.
He said that while there are still many who are missing, there is still hope since some had survived the waves when the water hit the airport in Tacloban City. (PNA)