PBBM monitoring situation in quake-hit areas in Davao Occidental

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Saturday (Manila time) assured the public that he is monitoring the situation in earthquake-hit areas in Sarangani, Davao Occidental while he is in the United States (US). Marcos, who is currently in San Francisco, California for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit, said all concerned government agencies are on top of the situation, emphasizing that they are taking proper actions without waiting for his directives. 'I'm happy to be able to say that the government agencies do not need directives from me anymore. They know what to do,' he told reporters in San Francisco. 'Nagre-report sila sa akin kung ano ba talagang nangyari (They report to me what really happened) and what are the initial reports.' Marcos noted that the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Department of the Interior and Local Government, and other relevant agencies are giving him updates on the s ituation in Davao Occidental. The government, he said, would keep assessing and determining 'what the damage really has been.' Asked if he sees the need to cut short his official visit to the US, Marcos said he would go home earlier than his scheduled return if need be. 'If there's something that needs to be done that cannot be done by anybody but myself, I will go home,' he said. 'But as I said, alam na nila ang gagawin (they already know what to do). That's my hope. We tried to organize the government in such a way that there are standard operating procedures already. You don't have to question what do we do next, nakasulat na lahat 'yan (it's all written there).' The President has directed concerned government agencies to provide immediate assistance to the victims of the magnitude 6.8 earthquake that jolted Sarangani, Davao Occidental on Friday afternoon. The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) raised the NDRRMC Operations Center's alert status to "blue" to closely coordinate, consolidate, and report all r elated incidents, as well as to ensure prompt coordination with concerned agencies and offices. The Department of Public Works and Highways has also begun inspecting the affected areas in Sarangani. Social Welfare Secretary Rex Gachalian is expected to visit the affected areas 'as soon as possible' to assess other needs the victims may require, DSWD Assistant Secretary Romel Lopez said Saturday. 'Sa mga chat group po nakikita ko na (In out chat groups, I see that) he's very much willing to visit the area ASAP to assess iyong pangangailangan noong ating mga kababayan (the needs of those affected) but so far, it's up to the secretary,' Lopez said. 'But usually po talagang every time na mayroon po tayong (we have a) calamity, the secretary keeps on (insisting) na he wants to be on the ground as soon as possible po.' In another statement, Office of the Presidential Assistant for Eastern Mindanao Secretary Leo Tereso Magno said he has coordinated with the OCD and other agencies. "The instruction is to make sure all concerns are addressed right away," Magno said, referring to Malacañang orders. Source: Philippines News Agency