Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) secretary Roy A. Cimatu commits to help fast track the rehabilitation of Siargao and Bucas Grande Islands after the onslaught of Typhoon Odette during his visit in Siargao Islands on January 15, 2022.
“I will be designating RED Nonito M. Tamayo to be the Chairman of the Siargao rehabilitation. I will make sure that he will focus on the restoration of power and tourism in Siargao. We will also ask for the help of other government agencies,” said Sec. Cimatu.
According to Atty. Zander Plaza, chief of staff of Governor Francisco Matugas, during Secretary Cimatu’s courtesy visit at the Siargao Incident Command Center in Dapa, Surigao del Norte, relief operation may last for three to four months due to the problem in livelihood as more than 60% of the people in Siargao are dependent on tourism. Thus, there are numerous displaced workers.
“Indeed, livelihood is our biggest problem. In order to help the residents of Siargao, we will implement the cash for work program in the rehabilitation of mangrove areas and we will be hiring the locals to do the job,” said Sec. Cimatu.
There are a total of 132 barangays in Siargao and Bucas Grande Islands, of which 92 are coastal and island barangays. The communities located in the coastal areas are the ones most devastated by the typhoon.
To address this problem, the DENR is now conducting an assessment and identification of possible relocation areas. Installation of “no build zone” signages in legal easement areas to prevent residents from building their houses in these high-risk areas.
“We will focus on the identification of possible relocation sites for the displaced communities. Rest assured that we will do everything we can to help,” Cimatu added.
A short briefing at the Protected Area Management Office of Siargao Island Protected Landscape and Seascape in Dapa, Surigao del Norte was also conducted in the same day which was attended by PAMO and DENR Caraga Regional Office personnel.
Secretary Cimatu was accompanied by the Deputy Chief Implementor for Visayas Inter-Agency Task Force Major Gen. Mel Feliciano and Executive Assistant Col. Orencio Jeruta during his visit in Siargao. (DENR Caraga)