President explains tough grilling on Cabinet members

PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III explained Friday why he had to be very specific with his questions and asking even the smallest details regarding the preparation by different agencies when he presided over a meeting on Thursday regarding Typhoon Ruby (Hagupit).

In the annual Bulong Pulungan, Aquino said that he is ultimately responsible for how the government works and he wants to impress on everyone that it is not just a matter of doing something but rather doing the right thing.

Responding to comments on how he led Thursday’s National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) meeting, Aquino quipped that his Cabinet secretaries have to endure “a thesis-like defense presentation” whenever he asks them questions.

“But at the end of the day, I really want to be able to say to myself when I look in the mirror, that we have done everything that was humanly possible to address whatever was issued to us,” he said.

“And I impress on all the members of this government, and not just in the Executive, that we do bear a responsibility to everybody and we should not have a period where we are regretting that we could have done something and we didn't choose to do so. So, perhaps that is my way of making sure that everybody is doing the utmost in their respective roles,” he said.

Aquino on Thursday afternoon presided over a meeting in Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City to coordinate government efforts to mitigate the impact of the typhoon, which is expected to hit Eastern Visayas on Saturday night.

Aquino also expressed his satisfaction with the presentation made by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) during the NDRRMC meeting.

“We had to learn about the science of all of this. We had to be clarified as to the precise meaning of all of the phrases and words and the jargon that was being thrown about in the hope of being able to direct the necessary actions in a more precise manner. So I was very happy with the DOST presentation,” he said.

He said he was also satisfied with the respective presentations of the Department of Public Works and Highways, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, and the Department of Energy.

But asked of the grade he would give to the preparations of the different government agencies, Aquino said, " If I say they’re at 80 or 90 (percent) they might relax. So can I just say that they are at 50 pending resolution of this crisis?" (SDR/Sunnex)

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