PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has called on the public to be prepared and be ready to reckon with Murphy’s Law even as he stressed the need for constant communication between government agencies in anticipation of the onslaught of Typhoon Ompong on Northern Luzon this weekend.
Speaking at the command conference at the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council headquarters in Quezon City, Duterte reminded Cabinet members and other government officials about “centrality of communications” and to reckon with Murphy’s Law.
“Actually in a crisis you have to reckon with the Murphy’s Law. We have estimates and we have the projections, the reckonings and all but it ain’t there until it is there,” Duterte said.
“Pagka ganun anything can go wrong outside of the projection or sudden shift of that idiot typhoon crawling towards North Luzon.”
He assigned Political Affairs Secretary Francis Tolentino to be his point person or conduit to all agencies for any updates as he would be monitoring the situation in Manila.
The President is also sending Cabinet members to personally see the situation in areas on the typhoon’s path or areas to be directly hit by the eye of the storm. They include Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello, Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol, Transportation Secretary Art Tugade, and NDRRMC chief Ricardo Jalad.
The President also inquired on the possible impact of the typhoon on rice supply. Piñol assured Duterte there is enough rice supply while the typhoon is in the country.
He told the President the typhoon may cause billions in pesos of damage to some crops, but that there was enough rice supply for the next 96 days.
“The impact on our rice supply will only be about 3.6 days,” he said.
He also told the President that the prices of rice will stabilize in two to three weeks time Piñol, however, admitted the projected damages could reach P3.6 billion to P7.9 billion in rice and between P2.7 billion to P3.1 billion in corn crops alone.
Facing reporters after the briefing, Duterte said seeking humanitarian assistance from other countries will depend on the “severity of the crisis.”
“If it flattens everything, maybe we need to have some help and if there are countries who are well meaning pero wala pa naman. It’s too early to speculate,” he said.
He added he is satisfied with the government’s preparations for the storm.
Duterte plans to stay in Manila as Typhoon Ompong barrels through northern Luzon this weekend.
Asked where he will be during Typhoon Ompong’s onslaught, Duterte said: “Dito lang ako — around. I cannot go there. I have so many things to do.”
Pressed on whether he will stay in Manila or Davao, the President replied: “Maybe but I’ll see.”
Duterte said among the things he is monitoring is the supposed weakening of the New People’s Army (NPA) after fighters in Surigao allegedly abandoned the rebel group.
He added that it was only fitting that he send Tugade and Bello to Northern Luzon since they hail from the region.
“Tama nga sila, sabi nila I would need a face there. But I cannot be everywhere and anywhere,” Duterte said.
During the briefing, the President expressed his concern about possible communication problems, suggesting the NDRRMC and all concerned agencies have a central communication line through a radio system even as he has doubts on the reliability of cellphones or commercial telcos.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), meanwhile, gave its assurance that food packs have already been pre-positioned in critical areas, while the Finance Department has ordered the Bureau of Customs to release seized food items to DSWD to help augment its supplies.
Some three million Filipinos on Ompong’s path are directly at risk, based on the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) estimates.
President Rodrigo Duterte is “ready to fly” to areas being battered by Typhoon “Ompong” (international name Mangkhut).
Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go said the President is monitoring the typhoon and the situations in the affected provinces or those in the path of the typhoon.
Go, however, did not disclose where the President is monitoring the typhoon citing “security reasons.”
“He is monitoring [the typhoon] and is ready to fly to affected areas,” Go said.