President Rodrigo Roa Duterte checks the condition of the victims of a landslide that ravaged a village in Naga City, Cebu last Thursday (September 20) as relief operations continue on September 21, 2018. The President also pledged to provide them permanent housing through the National Housing Authority.
The President, in his visit to one of the five centers, told the evacuees that they will be relocated to a safer place as he forbade them from returning to the landslide-prone area in Barangay Tinaan.
He also promised to shoulder the hospitalization of the wounded victims and burial expenses of the 29 fatalities.
As of 2:45 p.m. Friday, 897 families and 2,836 individuals have been displaced because of the landslide. They are now spread throughout five evacuation centers in Naga.
The number of injured was placed at 15 while 50 people have been reported missing.
Although, nothing was said of the possible relocation site, Naga Mayor Kristine Vanessa Chiong reportedly proposed the Balili property.
The Chief Executive also dropped by at the badminton gym of this city to visit the mass wake of all those who perished in the disaster.
Duterte expressed his sympathy to the victims and occasionally cracked jokes, which brought laughter to the evacuees at the Enan Chiong Activity Center, letting them momentarily forget the tragic incident.
“I know how difficult the situation you are in right now and I’m sad because of the incident,” the President told the evacuees in Bisaya. “This is why I’m against mining.”
He advised every Filipino residing in the mountainside near any mining site not to be complacent in times of weather disturbances, as life is more important than livelihood.
The site of the massive landslide is near the Apo Land and Quarry Corp.
Duterte said if any of the military, police, governor, or mayor orders an evacuation of a certain area, the public should heed the call because it is for their good.
He said he has ordered Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu to assess the situation in Naga and re-evaluate all mining and quarrying operations in the country.
According to the President, Cimatu told him that a forced evacuation of residents within the 1-km. radius of ground zero in this city must be enforced.
“This is not to disturb your lives, but to give you protection, in simple words, from death. That’s their (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) job,” Duterte said.
Meanwhile, Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III said he has also issued a cease and desist order to all mining and quarrying operations in the entire province.
Davide, who welcomed the President together with Mayor Chiong upon his arrival, also called for an inquiry into the tragedy.
Here’s some of the reaction of Filipino citizens:
Source: PNA / Facebook