Palace says Duterte not trivializing Ulysses victims' plight
President Rodrigo Duterte did not want to "trivialize" the difficulties of the Filipinos affected by Typhoon "Ulysses," Malacanang said on Friday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, in a televised briefing of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, said Duterte's critics were the only ones who were saying he was trivializing the hardship of the people devastated by the typhoon.
"Because the real message of the President was, he was one with those who became victims of this typhoon," he said.
Duterte, in a televised message on Thursday while many parts of Metro Manila and nearby areas were submerged in flood, said he wanted to be with the people during the time of disaster.
"I want to go there and swim with you. The problem is, I am being prevented because they said that if I die, there's only one president," he said.
Duterte made the remarks, including his assurance that the government was on top of the situation, as several people, particularly in Marikina City and other low-lying areas, stayed on their rooftops for hours in order not to drown due to massive floods brought by ''Ulysses''.
Roque insisted that the government was immediate on making its response.
But he acknowledged that the flood rose immediately.
"There were those who waited but unfortunately, the rescue (operation) was not instant, but they did not wait that much and what is important, those who needed to be rescued were rescued," Roque said.
Roque said the government has still around P3 billion to be spent for the areas affected by''Ulysses'' and other typhoons that hit the country in less than two weeks.
If the amount is not sufficient, he said the government could replenish it.
Quoting the Department of Trade and Industry, Roque reminded that prices of basic commodities in areas, which have been placed under the state of calamity, should not increase.
He said there is an automatic price control for 60 days as provided under Republic Act No. 7581 or the Price Act.
"The provinces, which have price freeze, are Batangas, Cavite, Catanduanes, Mindoro, Palawan, Camarines," he said, adding that there is also price freeze in Marikina City, which is now under the state of calamity. Celerina Monte/DMS