By Ben Serrano,
SURIGAO City — After calling for national assistance for quake victims, Surigao del Norte Governor Sol Forcadilla Matugas is now personally heading the relief operations and initiating rehabilitation as she ordered the resumption of classes at all levels in the earthquake-affected towns in the province.
Matugas arrived early morning Thursday at around 7 am at the Provincial Convention Center at the provincial capitol compound here, and immediately called for an emergency meeting for all department heads, social workers, relief personnel and on ground workers to discuss plans, itineraries for relief operations efforts.
Matugas announced she will distribute P3,000 for each Surigao del Norte quake victims aside from distributing relief goods, food, and potable bottled water.
“This afternoon, we will initially distribute P3,000 cash assistance, packed relief goods to quake victims in Mainit, Surigao del Norte, and Barangay Canlanipa, Surigao City,” Matugas told department heads, disaster and aid officials of the province during the meeting.
Mainit is one of the towns in Surigao del Norte hardly-hit by the earthquake. Other towns are San Francisco (formerly Anao-aon), Malimono, Sison, and the 19 barangays here in Surigao City.
At the meeting, Matugas reiterated earlier instructions for the resumption of classes at all levels in affected four town of Surigao del Norte and Surigao City on Monday.
Official reports revealed there are 52 elementary and high school buildings in the province including a partially damaged building of the Division of Surigao del Norte.
After the meeting with capitol officials and workers, officials from Tzu Chi Foundation Philippines arrived at the convention center.
Matugas ordered the provincial administrator to take over and wrapped up the meeting and personally went to the group of the officials of Tzu Chi Foundation Philippines.
Headed by presidents of Tzu Chi Philippines Cebu, Davao and Bohol chapters, businessmen Anton Mark Lim, Wilson Tan and Benson Hao respectively, said foundation officials expressed sympathy to Matugas to what happened and said they just arrived here in Surigao City to conduct assessment of the damages and will see what kind of assistance the foundation can give.
The Tzu Chi Foundation official presented to Matugas an blanket made out of used plastic bottles which they intend to give to the earthquake survivors.
In an interview after their meeting with Matugas, Tzu Chi Foundation Philippines officials Anton Mark Lim and Wilson Tan told Gold Star Daily they are eyeing to help in rehabilitation and construction works of the school buildings damaged by the earthquake.
“This is why we will conduct whole day actual inspection and assessment of the public school buildings damaged by the earthquake. But we are still in the assessment period. In the meantime we are distributing bottled potable water because of lack of potable water supply here in Surigao City,” Lim said.