LA TRINIDAD, Benguet, Sept. (PIA) -- Cordillerans had a glimpse of the compassionate side of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte as he condoled with kin of Typhoon Ompong casualties in Baguio a City and Benguet at the provincial capitol here on Monday (Sept. 17).
"Andito kami to share your grief," Duterte said to the families and relatives of the typhoon who were gathered at the Provincial Capitol.
"Ang Diyos lang talaga ang makasagot ng lahat ng tanong na ito. Even if I make an attempt to blame somebody, to blame the weather or maybe to blame the negligence of others, it won't really help anymore," the President said.
Like a father comforting his children, he said, "Go ahead and cry, huwag ninyong pigilan. But as you ponder on your loved ones and those who are yet to be found, I am praying to God they maybe somewhere there. I pray to God na sana may buhay pa. But for those na talagang inevitable, nan dyan na. What I can only promise you is what government can do in times like this," he added.
President Duterte came to La Trinidad to personally look at the situation of the Cordillera region following the onslaught of typhoon Ompong during the weekend. Except for at least two cases, the more than 60 deaths recorded in the region were due to soil erosion and landslides.
Benguet took the most heavy damages with more than 40 dead and more than 50 people missing in landslides particularly in Ucab in the municipality of Itogon. Search, rescue and retrieval operations by government and private groups and volunteers are ongoing.
The President assured that government will continue to rescue and retrieve those who are missing in various landslide incidents in the region.
Duterte met with kin of the victims before presiding a situational briefing with some members of the Cabinet, Cordillera regional and Benguet officials.
DSWD Acting Secretary Virginia Orogo distributed relief goods which include food and non-food items and cash assistance worth at least P45, 000 pesos to the families of the victims. The P25, 000 was provided by the DSWD while the P20, 000 cash assistance came from the Office of the President.
Aside from the cash assistance, DSWD will also shoulder the burial expenses of the fatalities while medical support will also be given to those injured.
The Cordillera Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council reported at least more than 100 casualties in the region including 67 dead, and 63 missing and dozens more injured during the height of typhoon Ompong. (JDP/RMC-PIA CAR)