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Aquino blows top, walks out of disaster meeting


President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Sunday blew his top and walked out of a disaster meeting when told of the massive devastation in Tacloban City.

The President blamed local officials for the high death toll in the city, saying the local government did not prepare enough for the monster typhoon.

DzMM radio reported that the President lost his temper and walked out of the briefing.

Aquino was also dismayed with the reports by National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) head Eduardo del Rosario.

Del Rosario reported that Tacloban is 95 percent devastated. The President questioned the figures and asked del Rosario to double-check.

The dzMM reported that Aquino appeared annoyed when a local businessman asked him to declare martial law in the city to stop widespread looting.

The President said he will look into the proposal considering that it is not in the Constitution.

After 10 minutes, the President returned to the briefing, dzMM said.

In an earlier media briefing, the President took a swipe at local officials in Tacloban for being unprepared for the typhoon.

”I hate to say it but it seems it was not very prepared compared to other areas,” he said.

Aquino noted that in most hard-hit areas the casualty count was low.
He said the local officials will “have to explain” the high number of deaths. “Any casualty is an issue with me,” he said.

The President visited typhoon-ravaged Tacloban and Roxas cities with Cabinet members including Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, and Secretary to the Cabinet Jose Rene Almendras.

Aquino earlier assured the government has enough funds to address the needs of the victims, including relief goods and restoration of communication lines in badly hit areas.

Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon urged Aquino to stop blaming local officials because everybody in Tacloban is a victim of the disaster.

“At a time when our people have barely recovered from the devastation wreaked by Super Typhoon Yolanda, it is simply in bad taste to blame the extent of the damages and casualties to the locality which suffered the most,” Ridon said in a statement.

Ridon said the national government should rethink its disaster preparedness plan.

Disaster preparedness must start with pre-disaster activities and infrastructure like typhoon drills, pre-positioned relief goods, proactive warning systems, and a nationwide emergency response system, he said.

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Today’s Front Page February 29, 2020

Today’s Front Page February 29, 2020