The Aquino administration is not downplaying the casualties from Super Typhoon Yolanda, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said Saturday.
Valte belied criticism that the administration was deliberately delaying the release of casualty figures, saying President Aquino 3rd in fact fired a police commander who estimated the death toll at a staggering 10,000.
On Friday the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council place the death toll from Yolanda at 5,209, and the missing at 1,600.
“We will reserve our take if that figure is the highest death toll for the Philippines, and it is not right to say that are holding the figures at this point. Nobody in his right mind would do that. When the President said the death toll was around 2,500, he made it clear that we are yet to account for all areas,” Valte said.
Valte was referring to the estimate of the fatalities the President gave during his interview with CNN.
“The context of his statement was clear. We are yet to reach all areas at that time. The details we get on the ground are the only ones we include in our report [of casualties],” Valte said, adding:.”We would rather leave speculations out of our conversations.”
LLANESCA T. PANTI