Duterte to skip Christmas, New Year celebrations because of 'Odette'; here's what he'll do instead

President Duterte will be on full work mode during Christmas and New Year as he promised to continue visiting the provinces pummelled by typhoon "Odette" over the weekend.

President Rodrigo Duterte visits typhoon-hit Negros Occidental on Dec. 20, 2021 (Malacañang photo)

Duterte, who is currently on his second round of inspections in typhoon-stricken areas in the Visayas and Mindanao, said Thursday, Dec. 23 that he would continue his visits throughout the holidays.

"Kung habulin ang tulong, maski na ngayong Pasko magtatrabaho pa rin ako, at marami akong pupuntahan yung mga lugar na gutom yung tao, may sakit na at hindi nakakakain...kailangang magpuntahan yan (If we're going to expedite the assistance, then I'll still work this Christmas, there are many places where there are hungry and sick people that I must go to)" he said.

The President made this announcement in his speech Thursday afternoon at Puerto Princesa in Palawan. He was scheduled to go to Cebu later that day. Palawan and Cebu both sustained damages from Odette.

Since Saturday, Duterte has also been to Siargao, Dinagat Islands, Negros Occidental, Leyte, and Bohol just to name a few.

He said that he has encountered problems in reaching the affected provinces due to the limitations of using a helicopter and the inability to land a plane in such places.

"So titignan namin, hanggang Pasko magtatrabaho ako. Hindi ako mag-New Year. Talagang lalabas ako (So we will see, I will work even on Christmas. I won't celebrate New Year. I will really go out)," declared the 76-year-old leader.

"Sabi ko mag overtime kami gobyerno, hindi magsara para maski na Pasko. Sabi ko magsakripisyo na muna tayo tutal marami nang Pasko sa buhay natin, sobra-sobra na. Itong Pasko na ito, ibigay natin sa tao (I said government will work overtime and keep itself open even if it's Christmas. I said we should sacrifice since we've already experienced a lot of Christmases. This Christmas, let's give it to the people)," he said.

Duterte earlier said that the Office of the President (OP) has set aside P10 billion for post-Odette response. He said the money will be distributed to locals in the coming days.

"Ito galing sa opisina ko ito, iba yung mga tulong ng ibang ahensya. At ito para lang sa makahawak ng pera at iikot yung pera sa isang lugar para makatindig--maka-ano uli ang mga tao (This money came from my office, this is different from the agencies' assistance. This is for the purpose of helping the people get back on their feet)," he explained.

"Kung magdating man na sa Pasko, magpasalamat ako sa Diyos. Pero pag hindi, bigyan niyo ako konting elbow room (If If arrives in time for Christmas, I will thank God. But if not, give me a bit of elbow room)," Duterte added.