MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has urged the LeyteÃ±os to â€œpray directly to Godâ€ to save them from another typhoon.
â€œThe only thing I ask of God is that He save you from another typhoon. When you pray leyteÃ±os, you may be praying to the priest. Do not pray to the priest, but directly to God … Pray hard, because we really need something good – to fight the disasters there, â€he said on Saturday in a speech in his city of Maasin, Leyte.
Duterte admitted he was close to tears when he saw the damage to his birthplace from Typhoon Odette.
â€œYou could have been brought here to help because if it storms it will really sweep the whole place. I feel sorry for the people. I didn’t even want to get out of the vehicle because I cry when I see the damage. But here the situation is at least better than there – there people waited on the side of the road and suffered. I felt very sorry for you, â€he added.
Since Leyte is prone to typhoons, Duterte remembered telling his mother that he wanted to move to another province.
“That’s why when I was born – the moment I was born into this world – I said to my mother, ‘Let’s not stay here because this place is really prone to typhoons,’” he said.
He said they moved to Davao because the region was less likely to be hit by typhoons.
â€œThere are no typhoons in Davao and that’s why Mindanao is like that – because it’s under the wind. The typhoon will just pull through because we are the window of the Pacific. Take away the Mariana Islands and Guam because that’s American territory. We have no part in that, â€he said.
However, he said Davao had its own problems like the communist uprising.
â€œMindanao should have brought help and provided us with plenty of food. It is actually a fertile land and what makes Mindanao attractive is the climate, every afternoon – when we first moved here – it just drizzles, it just rains. That made the agricultural effort possible … But the problem with Mindanao is the uprising, “he added.
On Saturday, Duterte conducted an aerial inspection of the areas devastated by Typhoon Odette and ordered the mobilization of all state resources to expedite aid deliveries.
He also appointed Rolando Bautista, Minister of Social Welfare and Development, as Crisis Manager in Surigao del Norte and the Dinagat Islands, with the assistance of the Executive Director of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council and Secretary of State for Civil Protection Ricardo Jalad. (PNA)