Talisay vice mayor’s rants confused many evacuees

Published January 22, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Noreen Jazul

Batangas Vice Governor Mark Leviste said Talisay Vice Mayor Charlie Natanauan’s statements caused “alarm and confusion” among Taal-affected residents, particularly those in evacuation centers.

Residents arrive at local school after being evacuated from the heavy ash and debris from the Taal volcano eruption outisde Talisay Town in Batangas on Monday, Jan. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Gerrard Carreon / MANILA BULLETIN)
Residents arrive at local school after being evacuated from the heavy ash and debris from the Taal volcano eruption outisde Talisay Town in Batangas on Monday, Jan. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Gerrard Carreon / MANILA BULLETIN)

In an interview with CNN Philippines, Leviste said several evacuees were confused as to whose order should they follow.

“Noong bumisita ako sa Sto.Tomas, ang sabi sa akin ng isang evacuee, ‘pinapauwi na kami ng vice mayor,’ samantalang nahihirapan na nga ang mga kapulisan na mag police ng ating mga lockdown areas,” Leviste shared.

The vice governor said the statements of the Talisay vice mayor added to the burden of not only the provincial government but “more” to the national government.

“Nagkaroon ng confusion in terms of communication. ‘Sino ba ang aming paniniwalaan, yung sarili naming pinuno? Si vice mayor? O kaya ang awtoridad na ating kapulisan?'” Leviste said.

Leviste said that while he “understands and respects” Natanauan’s emotions and reaction, he urged his colleague to “follow the law.”

“I do understand where he is coming from, a lot of emotion, of course, he’s a local boy, he feels very comfortable with the current state of his locality,” Leviste said.

“However, as public servants, we are covered and governed by laws and regulations. Whether we like it or not, we have to respect and recognize existing laws and the DILG [Department of the Interior and Local Government] already gave a directive that there are certain areas in the province of Batangas that will be declared no man’s land, so therefore, we cannot stay behind,” he added.

When asked if the provincial government of Batangas is planning to impose sanctions on Natanauan, Leviste said: “Right now, di pa namin iniisip iyan, we are really focused on relief and rehabilitation.”

Read more: ‘Is he God?’: Talisay vice mayor questions Phivolcs’ recommendation for continued evacuation

 
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