Robredo defends Phivolcs but clarifies Talisay vice mayor’s outburst was understandable
MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo said on Tuesday that the Talisay town vice mayor’s outburst was unavoidable, but urged all parties to follow advisories from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).
Robredo lauded Phivolcs officials and personnel for their work in monitoring the Taal Volcano’s activities, before and after it erupted last January 12 — a day after Talisay vice mayor Charlie Natanauan criticized Phivolcs chief Renato Solidum over an interview with DZMM.
Natanauan asked if Solidum was a god who could surely say that the volcano would erupt, even saying that the Phivolcs head’s findings were merely his “opinion.”
“Ako, palagay ko kasi, lalo na iyong mga nasalanta, hindi maiiwasan iyong pighati. Pero iyong sa akin, iyong Phivolcs pinakita naman sa atin kung gaano ka-committed sa trabahong ginagawa nila,” Robredo told reporters after she distributed relief goods to families in evacuation centers.
(I think, especially among those affected by the eruption, feeling mad or sorrow cannot be avoided. But for me, Phivolcs has shown how committed they are in their work.)
“Saludo din ako sa Phivolcs, nakita natin na iyong best din talaga ng mga kababayan natin nandoon. Sila iyong 24 hours na nagbabantay,” she added.
(Hats of to Phivolcs, we saw the best of what our countrymen could offer. They were monitoring the situation constantly for 24 hours.)
Natanauan said on Monday that he would ask President Rodrigo Duterte to allow people in evacuation centers to return home, especially after Solidum said that it may take a minimum of two weeks before residents inside the 14-kilometer radius are allowed to go home.
However, Calabarzon police chief Brig. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr. warned the local official that he would offer him as a “sacrifice” once residents returned and are harmed.
Robredo, on the other hand, said that if there are areas for improvement, the attention should be on solving the existing problems and not on the pointing of fingers.
“Siguro hindi din ito panahon para magturuan; mas panahon ito para tingnan kung papaano pa natin mapapaigting iyong mga ginagawa natin,” Robredo explained.
(Maybe it is not the time to point fingers. It is the time to look at how we could enhance what we are already doing.)
“Kung mayroon mang mga kailangang i-improve, siguro maging lesson ito—pero hindi siguro panahon para magsisihan. Mas mabuti na maghanap na lang tayo ng solusyon, kasi kapag nagsisihan, lalo na iyong mga government officials, makakadagdag pa siya sa kahirapan na pinagdadaanan ng ating mga kababayan,” she added.
(If there are things to improve, maybe this will serve as a lesson, but it is not the time to blame each other. It would be better for us to find solutions, because if we blame each other — especially among government officials — it would be an additional burden for people affected by the calamity.)
As of now Alert Level 4 still prevails over the areas specified by Phivolcs to be inside the 14-kilometer radius. The explosion has already displaced thousands of residents, with data from non-government organizations saying that around 300,000 individuals have been forced to flee their homes.
Robredo also said that she sees no problem with lawmakers from the House of Representatives holding a plenary session in Batangas, if the goal was to see the situation on the ground.
“Kung iyong dahilan, para makita firsthand kung ano iyong sitwasyon, tingin ko wala namang mali doon, kasi iba rin talaga kapag bumababa on the ground, nakikita, kaysa nagmi-meeting lang,” Robredo, who used to be a part of the House, said.
Siguro kung iyon iyong dahilan, okay lang naman, kasi parati naman na kapag may sakuna, mahalaga sa aming mga opisyal na nakikita mismo namin kaysa nababalitaan lang namin, kasi iyong klase ng tulong na dinadala, mas appropriate,” she added.
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