President Rodrigo Duterte announced on Friday night that he would visit the provinces ravaged by super typhoon Odette to see the condition of the people and overall situation in the areas.
“I’m flying tomorrow to the area, also maybe I would hit Leyte, Surigao and if there is time [in] Bohol and the day after I will try to visit Cebu then dito sa eastern side of the islands,” Duterte said in a press briefing.
Duterte said he is talking to the Department of Budget and Management for available money for the calamity-stricken areas, stressing that funds have been depleted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am as eager as you to go there to see for myself. We are trying to raise the money. I was talking with the budget (department), depleted ang budget natin immensely because of the COVID-19, naubos talaga ang pera natin,” he said.
Duterte, however, assured the public that the government is doing its best to address the needs of the people affected by the typhoon.
“Maybe prioritize the expenses [of] these typhoons, they are imponderable. They would come, they would not come but itong COVID-19 naubos ang pera natin (we really ran out of funds due to COVID-19),” he said.
“We are trying to scrimp how much we can raise so we can marshal it to the areas affected,” he added.
Duterte expressed concern on the condition of the people in the affected areas, adding that he was worried about the number of casualties.
“I am not so much worried about damage to structures, infrastructure of government. Ang ano ko is ang takot ko kung maraming namatay (I am more worried on the number of casualties),” he added.
At least 12 people were reported dead, while seven were missing due to the onslaught of Typhoon Odette, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said on Friday.
NDRRMC Executive Director Ricardo Jalad said a total of 84,674 families or 338,664 individuals were preemptively evacuated in areas in Mimaropa, Regions 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, and Caraga in its latest report.
Jalad said the authorities are also validating reported deaths in Siargao Island as reported by Surigao del Norte Governor Francisco “Lalo” Matugas.—LDF, GMA News