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Duterte wants in on Taal situation

President Rodrigo Duterte will visit on Monday the victims of Taal Volcano’s eruption to address the problems in the area, according to his spokesman Salvador Panelo.

All the heads of major agencies and department are going to accompany the President, Panelo told reporters Friday.

On Tuesday, the President was in Batangas to attend a situation briefing attended by Cabinet members and Batangas Gov. Hermilando Mandanas.

“This time, he will really go around the affected areas,” Panelo said.

President Duterte’s former aide Senator Christopher “Bong” Go also said this Thursday night, saying the President will check on the condition of evacuees again following an initial visit to some 3,000 displaced in Batangas City.

“He wants to see their situation and bring help,” Go told ABS-CBN News.

The President’s staff, however, has yet to decide on the evacuation site that Duterte would visit, Go said.

READ: Taal in mind, Duterte wants calamity-proof evac centers

On Tuesday, Duterte warned villagers who fled the rumbling Taal against returning to their homes, even as he promised them the government’s assistance.

As he promised on Monday, Duterte visited over 3,000 evacuees in the Batangas City Sports Complex.

“Nobody is allowed to go back until such time you are safe,” Duterte told the crowd after distributing relief packs.

The President handed out food packs containing six kilos of rice, four cans of sardines, three cans of corned beef, two cans of tuna and five sachets of coffee. He also provided P3,000 in cash for each family.

READ: Duterte assures funds enough to help victims

“I am here to help people affected by the eruption and I would help everyone in Batangas, Cavite, and Laguna until things return to normal,” Duterte said.

“I’m sorry I was not around. I was in Davao. But I was preparing to leave that night when I was informed that I could not make it because of the ash,” the President said.

“So at early morning, I insisted that I have to be here because there’s a crisis and I forced the airplane to fly me over,” he said at the meeting with local officials.

Duterte said he was “very pleased” with the national government agencies’ response to the latest calamity, especially since there is no casualty. He also congratulated the local government units around Taal “for their splendid response to the crisis.”

The President said the concerned agencies must continue to provide food and other assistance to the communities displaced by the natural disaster.

“We have to take care of day-to-day affairs of the community, those hard hit. The local and national government must stay for a while and do their work until such time that we are ready to declare that the crisis is over. It’s a continuing one.”

He admitted that he pitied the affected residents who were “covered in ashes like zombies.”

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Topics: Rodrigo Duterte , Taal Volcano , eruption , Salvador Panelo , Christopher “Bong” Go
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