Sat. May 28th, 2022

President Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to look for another P2 billion on top of the initial P2 billion he earlier committed for provinces ravaged by Typhoon Odette.

(Photo Courtesy: Politiko)

In a speech in Inabanga, Bohol on Sunday, Duterte committed to look for more sources of funding to rehabilitate typhoon-hit areas.

“We gave P2 billion and you’ll divide the amount. We’ve already started giving assistance, so I’ll look for another P2 billion,” Duterte said.

He also appealed for patience anew, noting that government’s funds are “depleted” after being spent on the Covid-19 response efforts.

“You know, we don’t have money left. I’m not saying this so that government won’t have to do anything anymore, but to be totally honest, when the Covid pandemic first started, there has been no spending limit. I’ve racked up huge debts in hotels, both the cheap and expensive ones because when our OFWs go home, we put them in quarantine first. They are quarantined in hotels so I’ve racked up massive debts per our calculation,” he added.

Despite this, he said more funds from the proposed national budget for 2022 may be used for relief and rehabilitation efforts in areas affected by the typhoon.

“There is money but we can’t spend it yet because the budget hasn’t been prepared for next year. But next year — it’s near now — we can spend the money and we can help you re — maybe buy materials to rebuild the houses,” he said.

He urged those displaced by the typhoon to wait for their turn, noting that the government is prioritizing hardest-hit communities first.

“We’ll prioritize those who were really left with nothing. Just don’t be selfish, just wait for your turn. We will have to help first those who have nothing right now. But for those whose houses are still intact and just need some repairs, you’ll be next to receive help,” he added.

Duterte said he has directed officials to ensure that “nobody goes hungry.”

“I came here to let you know that help is on the way,” he added.

Meanwhile, Duterte apologized to the people of Bohol for visiting the province late. He visited Southern Leyte on Saturday.

“Please forgive us for arriving here late because I went to the hardest-hit areas first. If you look at the Philippine map, on your right side is the east; on your left is the west; taas, north; south ako Davao, we’re down below in the south. We weren’t able to respond right away because the first ones to go here couldn’t find a place to the land a plane so they couldn’t do anything. We had to wait for one day. Today is still the third or fourth day,” he said.

On Saturday, Duterte visited Maasin Leyte to check on typhoon-devastated areas there and pledge an initial P2 billion for rehabilitation efforts.

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