Duterte thanks God’s grace after "Ompong" onslaught: 'we have to thank God this is all we experienced' - The Daily Sentry

Monday, September 17, 2018

Duterte thanks God’s grace after "Ompong" onslaught: 'we have to thank God this is all we experienced'

President Rodrigo R. Duterte presides over a situation briefing of areas ravaged by Typhoon "Ompong" in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte on September 16, 2018 / Presidential photo from PNA

Manila, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte thanked God’s mercy over minimal destruction and casualties, at least so far, brought by super typhoon “Ompong” which ripped the Northern Luzon part last Saturday.

Although the government targets zero casualties during typhoon’s onslaught, the president still expressed satisfaction over the agencies and government units involved in preparations and response.

The typhoon before hitting the country was compared to super typhoon “Yolanda” that took more than 7, 100 lives in 2013.

“This is not really to minimize or maybe downgrade the damage, but compared to what I have seen in the past, we (have to) thank God that this is all we experienced,” the chief executive said in a briefing at the Cagayan Provincial Capitol in Tuguegarao on Sunday.

The president immediately proceeded in Cagayan – which bore the brunt of Ompong’s wrath.

“It was not so severe as we expected it to be,” he added.

The chief executive immediately went to the hardest hit province in the North and he also personally did the aerial inspection with Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go before convening his Cabinet secretaries and other officials for damage assessment, especially to infrastructure and major roads in the affected areas.

He also commanded the government units and agencies “to make the rehabilitation, the repairs” as soon as possible adding that he would tap Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno to release calamity funds to speed the process.

“For me, the most important ones would be the bridges, if there are major damage, to maintain connectivity and the lights (electricity). Let’s prioritize public service for the general public,” President Duterte stressed.*

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque assures that the government has enough relief funds.

“Just to assure you, there is enough in the calamity funds. We have P15 billion left for the year,” Roque said, citing that the president also plans to go to Cordillera after hearing the high casualty reports in the said region.

The president also said that his order to deploy different departments on grounds was easier, quicker and more efficient, especially with him not being able to personally visit every affected area.

“I may not be able to make the key rounds of all the areas. I intend to do it. I still have about a day I can spare to go around. I just want to assure the people that the government is present,”President Duterte stated.

“I share the grief of those who lost their loved ones, those are what we call as unforeseen events. In insurance this is (what is called) an act of God. I don’t know how it can be an act of God but that is the term used by the insurance (industry). It’s good that we had time to meet…(That’s the) advantage of being here right from the start,” the president also said

 Source: Tribune