DAVAO CITY, Philippines – His voice cracking and almost in tears, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said God must be somewhere else when Super Typhoon Yolanda (international codename Haiyan) ravaged Tacloban City and several other provinces in central Philippines.
“I do not mean to be… God must have been somewhere else or he forgot that there is a planet called Earth,” the teary-eyed mayor told reporters who met him at the Davao City airport upon his return Monday, November 11.
Duterte arrived in Davao City after a quick visit to Tacloban, where he said dead bodies remain unattended on the city streets, 4 days after the super typhoon battered the entire city.
The pistol-packing, tough-talking mayor said declaring a state of calamity was not enough.
He said a state of national emergency should be declared in the provinces affected by the typhoon. “There has to be a state of national emergency because there is no local government functioning,” he said.
Everybody, including local officials, police personnel and members of the military there have casualties in their family, according to the Davao City mayor.
President Benigno Aquino III declared a state of national calamity on Monday evening to expedite relief operations and release of more funds to help victims cope with the tragedy.
On Sunday evening, November 10, Duterte sent a convoy of medical teams that included 20 doctors, 20 nurses, and 40 relief workers to help in the massive search and rescue operations. He also brought P7 million in cash donation for Tacloban and Leyte.
He also created a stir when he said he ordered police and military personnel that joined the convoy to shoot looters on the foot if they are stopped on their way to Tacloban. Thankfully, nobody blocked the convoy as it reached the city Monday.
In addition, Duterte lent 3 helicopters which, he said, were volunteered by his friends from Davao City.
“Di ko malaman kung iiyak ako (I do not know if I have to cry)…I cannot shout in anger because you cannot be mad at anybody there,” he said in describing what he had seen, holding back his tears.
He said he saw a dead policeman in full uniform.
He described Tacloban as a plateau. “Patag kaayo (Everything is flattened),” he said.
Duterte appealed for more help. He said the rescue team he sent has only provisions good for 3 to 4 days. It will bog down, the mayor said, if no reinforcement of supplies arrive.
Sounding more pessimistic, the Davao City mayor said Tacloban may need more morticians and rescue workers whose job is to solely take care of the dead. – Rappler.com
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