MANILA – Malacañang said President Rodrigo Duterte wants to visit residents affected by the 6.6 earthquake which rocked Masbate province on Tuesday morning.
In a virtual press briefing on Tuesday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said even if Duterte is more than willing to fly to Masbate, it remains to be seen whether his close-in security would allow him to push through with his trip.
“Siguradong-sigurado po ako na gusto ni Presidente pumunta at siguro po makikipag-away pa ‘yan sa (Presidential Security Group) kung talagang siya’y pipigilan (I am very sure that the President wants to go and perhaps, he would even argue with PSG if he would be prohibited)” he said.
Roque said it is a decision to be discussed between the President and PSG.
“Instinctively, ang Presidente gusto na lumipad papuntang Masbate pero (the President wants to fly to Masbate but) whether or not he will be allowed, titignan po natin (we’ll see),” he added.
Duterte is known to visit victims of calamities prior to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
However, the PSG has limited the President’s public engagements to ensure his health and safety.
Roque also assured that the national government will provide quake victims with necessary assistance.
Since the country is no stranger to natural calamities and catastrophes, Roque said all their needs would be attended to immediately.
“Ang mga Pilipino, dahil nga sa dami ng bagyo at lindol at pagputok ng bulkan na nangyayari sa’tin, laging handa na tayo. At dahil laging handa tayo, tingin ko naman napa-preposition na nga gaya ng sinabi ko yung mga humanitarian assistance. Dadagdagan pa po natin ‘yan (Because of having gone through so many typhoons, earthquakes, explosions, we have always been prepared. And because we have always been prepared, I think humanitarian assistance has already been prepositioned),” he said.
Roque said Filipinos always managed to rise above any challenge.
“Kabahagi ng buhay natin ang mga ganitong mga sakuna pero palagi po tayong tumatayo at palagi po natin sinisugurado na nagbabayanihan ang lahat (Disaster has always been a part of our lives but we always manage to rise again and we always ensure that we help each other),” he said.
He also expressed confidence that the private sector would step up and always help those in need of assistance.
“Huwag po kayo mag-alala. Yung mga pagkain, mga blankets, mga resettlement areas, lahat po ‘yan ay naka-preposition na po ‘yan at sanay na sanay na po tayo magbigay ng ganiyang tulong sa ating mga kababayan (Don’t worry. Food, blankets, resettlements areas, all of those area already prepositioned. We are used to giving help to our citizens),” he said.
Reports showed that a retired police colonel died while several others were injured when the strong earthquake rocked the town of Cataingan in Masbate City on Tuesday with tremors felt in parts of Luzon and Visayas.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Philvolcs) said the epicenter of the quake was traced seven kilometers southwest of Cataingan at around 8:03 a.m. where “destructive” shaking was felt. (PNA)