SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has reassured the Filipino public of his active involvement in monitoring the aftermath of the recent earthquake in Sarangani, Davao Occidental, despite being in the United States for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit.
According to Philippines News Agency, while he is currently in San Francisco, all relevant government agencies are efficiently handling the situation in the quake-stricken areas. He expressed satisfaction with the proactive response of these agencies, noting that they no longer require direct orders from him to act. "They know what to do," the President said, citing their timely reporting and initial assessments.
Marcos highlighted 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 pertinent agencies are keeping him updated on developments in Davao Occidental. The government is continuously assessing the extent of the damage caused by the magnitude 6.8 earthquake that struck the region on Friday afternoon.
When asked about the possibility of cutting his US trip short, President Marcos stated he would return earlier if his presence is deemed essential for actions that cannot be delegated. He emphasized the importance of established standard operating procedures within the government for such emergencies, ensuring that necessary actions are clear and predefined.
The President has directed concerned government agencies to provide immediate assistance to the earthquake victims. The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) has raised the NDRRMC Operations Center's alert status to "blue" to ensure effective coordination and reporting of incidents, and the Department of Public Works and Highways has initiated inspections in the affected areas.
Social Welfare Secretary Rex Gachalian is expected to visit the affected regions to assess additional needs of the victims. DSWD Assistant Secretary Romel Lopez noted Gachalian's readiness to be on the ground as soon as possible, a consistent approach in response to calamities.
Additionally, Office of the Presidential Assistant for Eastern Mindanao Secretary Leo Tereso Magno has coordinated with the OCD and other agencies, following Malacañang's directive to address all concerns promptly.