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Duterte pays a visit to NegOr and expresses regret for the delays in relief distribution.

President Rodrigo Duterte has apologized once more for delays in the government’s transfer of help to victims of Typhoon Odette in the Philippines.

He remarked in a speech in Bais City, Negros Oriental, that law required the evaluation of catastrophe reports before a state of calamity could be declared.

“First and foremost, please accept my apologies for the delay in the government’s aid operation. This is due to a law prohibiting me from mobilizing and utilizing government monies. “This clause necessitates an assessment and report of the typhoon’s damage,” he explained.

Duterte admitted that the evaluation of reports would be utilized to identify the appropriate measures to take.

The “issue,” he noted, was that the law’s provision also delayed the distribution of critical money until the assessment was finished.

“That is the issue there. “Without this report, I won’t be able to withdraw funds or make a declaration,” he continued.

He even threatened to break the law if he had his way, claiming that he would do so if he had his way.

“I informed them that if I had to wait for that darned report, I’m going to have to wait for the roads to be cleared of debris and fallen trees so that relief vehicles can get through,” I informed them that I would not be abiding by that rule. “Don’t frighten me with incarceration because I’m used to being incarcerated,” he explained.

Duterte stated that the administration is “very cautious” in order to “avoid legal penalties.”

“Now, if I break this legislation by taking funds without a previous declaration because the damage report hasn’t been completed yet, I could go to prison.” “I’m going to base my calamity declaration on the report,” he stated.

He said storm victims required support, but that the constraints for doing so right away are “extremely limited.”

“‘The people are waiting for us to give them this,’ I told them. This rule will not be followed by me. ‘Get the money,’ I urged them. Don’t hold your breath for the damage assessment report.’ Because I can’t sign the proclamation without it, and the people, particularly those in Siargao, are hungry, homeless, and dying,” he added.

Duterte further stated that there would be delays since the Commission on Audit (COA) “would always seek for evidence, whether it’s a report on the damage or a photo and video captured.”

Acting Presidential Spokesperson, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, said Duterte authorized the Department of Social Welfare and Development to deliver trapal (tarpaulin), family meal packs, kitchenware (kaldero), and financial support to typhoon victims in a press statement.

Duterte also ordered the Department of Health to address the typhoon victims’ health problems.

Duterte has already ordered the disbursement of PHP1,000 per person or PHP5,000 per household monetary help to victims in “Odette”-affected areas.

He also ordered the National Housing Authority (NHA) to offer PHP100 million in relief to residents whose shelters were damaged or destroyed entirely by the typhoon.

Duterte also announced a pledge of PHP10 billion to aid in the recovery of typhoon-ravaged areas.

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