PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has expressed grief over the rising death toll from Tropical Depression Usman, but appeared to be satisfied with the government's disaster preparation and response, Malacañang said on Thursday, January 3.
In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said there was no negligence on the part of concerned government agencies since they demonstrated readiness to respond to the typhoon.
"Natural lamang na malungkot ang Presidente sa mga panahon ng kalamidad. Pero ginawa naman natin ang lahat na maging handa. But there are things that you cannot control. May mga dumarating na mga panahon na talagang magkakaroon ng mga trahedya," Panelo said.
(It's natural for the President to get sad in times of calamity. But we did our best to be ready at all times. But there are things that you cannot control. We cannot control any tragedy that is about to happen.)
"Mukha namang [satisfied si Presidente]. But syempre, gaya ng sinabi ko kanina, there are certain matters na hindi kaagad nakaresponde. Meron namang mga paliwanag din 'yung mga LGU (local government unit). So tignan natin kung ano pa ang pwede nating gawin upang lalo tayong maging handa sa anumang panahon ng sakuna," he added.
(The President seems to be satisfied. But of course, like I said earlier, there are certain matters when we're unable to give immediate response. The local government units have explanation for that. So let's see what can we do so we can be more prepared when disaster strikes.)
"Usman" brought heavy rains that caused massive flooding and landslides in Bicol and Eastern Visayas regions on December 29. More than 100 people were reported dead following its onslaught.
Thirty of the reported casualities were from Sagñay town in Camarines Sur province, based on the latest consolidated report from the Office of Civil Defense Bicol.
Panelo said the President was scheduled to fly to Camarines Sur on Friday, January 4, to assess the damage caused by the deadly weather system.
"We're scheduled to visit tomorrow sa Bicol area, Camarines Sur. Syempre (Of course), we will re-check on the stricken areas para malaman natin kung ano pang kailangang gawin (so we will know what can we do)," the Palace official said.
"We will learn from whatever lesson we have seen. Ganoon naman tayo eh. 'Pag medyo nagkamali o meron tayong dapat mga gawin, gagawin natin (That's how it is. If we make mistake or if we need to do something, we will correct and address it)," he added. (SunStar Philippines)