Cotabato guv backs Lorenzana order

Acting Governor Emmylou “Lala” Talino-Mendoza of North Cotabato supports the directive of Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to set up checkpoints in quake-affected areas in Mindanao to properly record the arrival of relief goods and workers.

This is in line with reports that residents in North Cotabato affected by the strong quakes last week will be arrested if they continue to beg for help along the national highway. 

Mendoza reacted to quake survivors begging along the highway saying it is their choice but their action is unfair to the local government since efforts have been undertaken to supply the needs of the quake survivors. 

“My position is to maintain the security and the orderliness by supporting the directive of Lorenzana for an orderly flow of the distribution of the relief goods. Wala gakulang ang national ug local government sa pagtabang sa ilaha,” Mendoza said in a telephone interview. 

North Cotabato Police Chief Colonel Maximo Layugan reported incidents of looting in Barangay Batasan and following the advice of the Department of Social Welfare and Development that handling our relief along the highway poses risks for the residents.  

The Province of Cotabato also ensured that affected communities were attended to from providing evacuation centers to the distribution of financial assistance. 

The DSWD has reported an estimated of around 15,000 people or 3,000 families being displaced in North Cotabato while 148,000 are affected from the recent two strong quakes that jolted the province and nearby provinces. 

Lorenzana, who was named head of all government relief operations in Davao Del Sur and North Cotabato, has issued a directive for the putting up of checkpoints at all entry points to the disaster areas so that they can record all relief goods and relief workers going in.

The directive also provides that only legitimate and authorized relief workers are granted access to evacuation centers and receive relief goods and supplies for distribution to the evacuees.

The latter order received flak online as it derails voluntary help from private donors.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea reacted by saying he will look into the directive.