Tuesday, 29 September 2009

"Oplan Sagip Center" in Malacanang


Arroyo, Cabinet to donate 2 months' salary for clean-up

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and members of her Cabinet will donate their two months' salary for clean-up operations in areas affected by tropical storm "Ondoy" (Ketsana).

The decision was announced Tuesday morning at the meeting of the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) in Camp Aguinaldo.

"That was the agreement, upon suggestion of the President," Defense Secretary and NDCC chairman Gilberto Teodoro Jr. told reporters after the meeting.

The donated salaries are to be coursed through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), which is supervising relief work.

Under Executive Order 611 signed March 14, 2007, the President is under Salary Grade 33, and receives P63,525 a month.

The Vice President is under Salary Grade 32 and receives at least P50,820 a month.

Also under Salary Grade 32 are the Senate President, House Speaker, and the Chief Justice.

Cabinet members fall under Salary Grade 31, including the Executive Secretary, department secretaries, presidential spokespersons, Ombudsman, presidential advisers and assistants with Cabinet rank, NEDA head, Court of Appeals presiding justice and Sandiganbayan presiding justice.

Officials under Salary Grade 31 receive at least P44,468 a month.

Earlier, Mrs. Arroyo ordered the immediate clean-up of areas devastated by Ondoy.


Mrs. Arroyo ordered the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to supervise the clean-up.

"That will be you and CHED, the CHED for (college) students and you for everybody else," Mrs. Arroyo told MMDA chairman Bayani Fernando by phone during a meeting of the NDCC.

She particularly instructed agencies to mobilize village officials for clean-up work in affected areas, "particularly drainage and waterways."

Reports received by the NDCC during Tuesday’s meeting indicated some key areas, including Quiapo in Manila, remained paralyzed as the underpass was still underwater.

In other areas, floods still reach up to the second floor of houses.

On the other hand, Mrs. Arroyo instructed Office of the Civil Defense administrator Melchor Rosales to mobilize village captains to prevent residents from returning to dangerous riverbank areas.

Suspension of classes

At the meeting, CHED chairman Emmanuel Angeles recommended that classes in Metro Manila and areas affected by "Ondoy" be suspended for the rest of this week.

Angeles said the suspension will allow the conversion of school buildings into emergency evacuation centers.

He also said Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets will be mobilized not only for clean-up but also for help in relief work.

Mrs. Arroyo likewise ordered police to address the problem of looting in areas hit hard by Ondoy.

"The first night, the moment we were able to rescue, the next problem was looting ... You guard those places were residents were evacuated," she told Philippine National Police chief Director General Jesus Verzosa.

Verzosa assured Mrs. Arroyo the PNP has enough police patrols in the affected areas, including Provident Village in Marikina City. - GMANews.TV

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