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Dominguez orders BOC to release seized food products for relief operations for ‘Ompong’

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Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III has ordered Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña to release all seized food items in its warehouses so they can be added to the government’s relief goods inventory in preparation for Typhoon Ompong.

“Sid (Lapeña), Please release all seized rice and food stuff in your possession to the DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) for possible disaster relief,” Dominguez said in a message shared to journalists Thursday afternoon.

Asked how fast the Bureau of Customs (BOC) can release the items, he said: “G to G (government-to-government) transfers in emergency situations can legally be fast-tracked.”

President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday held a command conference at the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) office in Quezon City as part of preparations for the impact of the typhoon, which is now bringing rains in some parts of northern Philippines.

A bulletin issued by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) at 5 p.m. Thursday said the eye of the typhoon was located at 560 km. northeastern of Borongan City, Eastern Samar at about 4 p.m. Thursday.

The typhoon, which wrought havoc to Guam and the Marshall Islands in the Pacific, is “expected to make landfall in the Cagayan-Isabela area” early Saturday morning.

“Moderate to occasionally heavy rains due to southeast monsoon over Palawan, Zamboanga Peninsula and Visayas tomorrow (Friday). The weather condition will prevail in these areas until Saturday,” it said.

The agency advised fisherfolks and those with small seacraft not to go to areas affected by the typhoon, such as the northern seaboard of Northern Luzon and eastern seaboards of Visayas and Mindanao.

Evacuation of families living in coastal towns in the areas expected to be at the path of the typhoon have begun. (PNA)