Duterte apologizes for 'late' state of calamity declaration

Published December 24, 2021, 12:59 PM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

President Duterte personally apologized to the victims of Typhoon Odette if it took him a while before signing the proclamation that placed six regions in the country under a “state of calamity“, saying they had to wait for the report on the damages.

President Rodrigo Duterte (Malacañang File photo)

Duterte made the statement after he placed Regions IV-B, VI, VII, VIII, X, and XIII under a state of calamity to hasten the rescue, relief, and rehabilitation efforts of the government and the private sector.

During his visit to Tisa, Cebu City on Thursday, December 23, the President “asked for forgiveness” for signing the said proclamation quite late.

“So ang akong hangyo ninyo mao ni. Nangayo mi’g pasaylo, ako mismo, nga dugay nakong gi — ang proclamation (So what I wanted to ask from you is your forgiveness. Please forgive us, I’m pleading with you personally because the proclamation was delayed),” he said.

“Baw-an ninyo, ang balaod tonto. Parehas anang ingnon nga di ko kapirma og proclamation og walay report sa damage ug unsay na… Ingon nako og mao nang kalakiha, buot pasabot sunod bulan pa ni og akong huwaton ang assessment (You know, some laws are stupid, just like that one that says I can’t sign a proclamation without a report of the damages. So I said if we’re going to follow that, we’ll wait until the following month for the assessment),” he added.

According to Duterte, he called the Commission on Audit (COA) to tell them that he will not be following their policy.

“Bahala na mo basta walay report kay mao man toy basehan sakong proclamation (I don’t care if there’s no report as the basis of my proclamation),” he said.

“Giingnan ko sila, ‘Walay naay report ug walay report, wa koy pakialam’ basta gamiton na nako ang tawo (I told them, ‘Whether or not there’s a report, I don’t care’ as long as I can give the money to the people),” he added.

In signing the proclamation on December 21, the President said it would cover assistance coming from both within and outside the country.

President Duterte earlier said that the government was going over the budget to collect funds to help the typhoon victims. On Thursday, he said that he was able to raise P10 billion.

“Naay kwarta. Ganina nakatigom gyud ko’g P10 billion. Akong gikaltasan ang tanang kuan sa gobyerno (There is money. I was able to save up 10 billion by cutting the budget of some government projects),” he said.

“Katong proyekto nga ongoing giingnan nako ‘undangi ninyo’ hasta mga materyales. Unya ubang proyekto, ang kwarta ako nalang gikuha (For the ongoing projects, I instructed them to temporarily stop them including the supply of construction materials. And then I took some money from the budget allotted for other government projects as well),” he added.