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Duterte pledges P40M for new Batanes hospital

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday vowed to allot P40 million to build a new hospital in Batanes.

The President and Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, along with local government officials and heads of concerned national agencies, conducted an aerial inspection of quake-affected areas in Itbayat, Batanes.

Duterte announced the monetary support during a briefing.

“I will give you the P40 million. The P40 million would bring you something like a small clinic, hospital. The people here are not that many, anyway,” he said.

He said he was not keen on repairing the damaged hospital because it is “too expensive.”

The President ordered authorities to ensure that supply lines in the island are working so that no one would go hungry.

Duterte and Go provided cash assistance to the families of the casualties and those injured.

The President also stressed the need to have transportation “fast enough for emergency” in the island.

Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo said Duterte was “satisfied” with the government’s response on the quakes.

“We have agencies of the government that were ready,” he added.

Meanwhile, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the government was “working to ensure that medical services would be available to those injured and displaced by the earthquake.”

“The government’s priority now is to ensure that those injured in the earthquake, as well as the families displaced by it, are given adequate medical care. Health Secretary Duque reports that government health assets in Batanes have already been mobilized to tend to the injured and more help is on the way,” Nograles said in a statement.

He added that tents, water, hygiene kits and medicine would be provided by the government.

Meanwhile, Duterte said he wanted to have landmarks in Batanes to show which areas were owned by the Philippines and which were owned by China.

The President also asked the Coast Guard to patrol the waters from time to time.

“Things are tough now. If we steal islands from China, they may beat us up. We cannot take missiles. We are all workers of the government, we are supposed to preserve the Republic of the Philippines,” he said.

“And whatever is ours it should be very clear to everybody that it is ours,” he added.

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