Duterte during a speech at the Old Airport, Puerto Princesa City, broadcasted on RTVM.

President Rodrigo Duterte said in a speech during his visit to Puerto Princesa on Thursday that he is sorry for the delayed response after Typhoon “Odette” ravaged the province last week, saying that they had to wait for reports from local government units (LGUs) before deciding to allocate funds for affected areas.

He also promised that the national government will work vigorously during the holidays to ensure that the estimated P10-billion worth of funds for the calamity response will be approved and downloaded to local government units in need.

“So titingnan namin, hanggang Pasko magtatrabaho ako, hindi ako mag-New Year, talagang lalabas ako. Pero ito hintayin na lang ninyo, one or two days ang sabi ko sana, kung umabot man lang ng Pasko, ewan ko, dina-download na ‘yong pera ngayon, kung magdating man sa Pasko magpasalamat ako sa Diyos,” he said in a speech.

“Maghihingi ako ng tawad dahil napatagal ang response [mula] sa gobyerno. Sa totoo lang, hirap rin kami dito sa taas, because of so many places scattered around at malalayo. ‘Yong calamity fund, kailangan may report ng damage bago ma-release ang pera,” he added.

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Duterte added that he will strive to release the funds in 1-3 days. He also said that he will seek help from law enforcement and military authorities to ensure that the cash aid is distributed properly.

Also in the event was trade secretary Ramon Lopez, who also stated that the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will allocate an additional budget of P10-million for 1,000 target beneficiaries, and an additional P50-million for Puerto Princesa City, which was also affected badly by the typhoon.

Additional financial aid to help those affected by the calamity are the P15-million funds from the Palawan provincial government and the P3,000 per family cash aid for severely affected households that Puerto Princesa mayor Lucilo Bayron promised also on Thursday afternoon.

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is a senior reporter for Palawan News who covers politics, education, environment, tourism, and human interest stories. She loves watching Netflix, reading literary fiction, and listens to serial fiction podcasts. Her favorite color is blue.