Duterte assures govt will address damage from ‘Ompong,’ saddened over casualties

Published September 16, 2018, 3:46 PM

by Patrick Garcia

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

President Duterte assured the people that the government is ready to address the effects of typhoon Ompong as he shared the grief of those who lost their loved ones due to the storm.

 President Rodrigo Roa Duterte  (PRESIDENTIAL COMMUNICATIONS/ MANILA BULLETIN)
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (PRESIDENTIAL COMMUNICATIONS/ MANILA BULLETIN)

Duterte made the statement as he presided over the situation briefing on the effects of ‘Ompong’ in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan Sunday afternoon.

In his opening remarks, Duterte said that while the damages caused by the typhoon is not as severe as the government expected it to be, services will be restored to affected areas as soon as possible.

“I want to assure people that government is present… It’s important to fix bridges, electricity, services to the public,” he said.

“We thank God na ito lang ang inabot natin (that this is all we experienced)—not so severe as we expect it to be because earlier it was touted na malakas din ito (that it would also be strong) so it got everybody worried,” he added.

According to Duterte, rehabilitation of affected areas should proceed immediately after the onslaught of Typhoon Ompong. He added that he will discuss calamity funds with Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno soon.

Casualties

Meanwhile, Duterte is saddened about the reported 25 casualties in Luzon due to the typhoon.

“I share the grief of those who have lost their loved ones, those we call unforeseen events,” Duterte said.

“In insurance, this is an act of God. I don’t know how it can be an act of God but that is the term used by the insurance,” he added.

Presidential Political Adviser Francis Tolentino said 20 of the fatalities were from the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), four from Nueva Vizcaya, and one from the Ilocos Region.

Alter egos

The President also said that he made the right decision to send Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to their home provinces to oversee the government’s preparation and response.

“And I think I made the right decision when I called for a tête-à-tête, very informal, it was a time that I said the Cabinet members should be here,” Duterte said.

“So I started to joke with Secretary Tugade who was from here and Bebot (Bello) because the typhoon was plotted to pass by Isabela, and the others,” he added.

“For one moment I did not doubt your presence here, Secretary Bello and Art (Tugade). Taga dito umuwi kayo doon harapin natin problema (You are from here and you came here immediately to face the problem). I am very pleased with the report,” he continued.

 
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