Duterte's P2B aid pledge for mine workers, not quake victims – Palace
MANILA, Philippines – The Palace clarified that the P2-billion worth of assistance President Rodrigo Duterte promised to give in Surigao City is not for victims of the recent quake but for those who will lose their jobs with the closure of mining operations in the province.
"I would like to clarify that. The President was saying that in the context of the mining. He said if the mining operations are closed, people will lose their jobs," said Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar on Monday, February 13 during a DZRH radio interview.
Andanar said he consulted on the right interpretation of the President's statements with Special Assistant to the President Bong Go.
"Bong said, 'I didn't hear anything like that,'" said Andanar in Filipino.
He said Duterte had mentioned, during a meeting, the provision of P1 billion to the Department of Social Welfare and Development and another P1 billion for other needs.
"The P2 billion he mentioned, 'This P2 billion, is this enough?' This was mentioned by the President when he was talking in the context of mining problem, that when the operations are closed, people will need livelihood," said Andanar.
Several news outfits, including Rappler, had interpreted Duterte's statements as referring to aid to be given to earthquake victims.
He had given the speech in Surigao City, two days after the 6.7-magnitude earthquake rocked northeastern Mindanao.
Duterte, who spoke mostly in Bisaya during the speech, mentioned that the P2 billion would go to livelihood programs but did not specify if the programs are intended for quake victims or those affected by mining closures.
The quote, translated into English by Malacañang transcribers, is as follows:
"I have released a small amount of money. So I will tell you, those who have lost their livelihood, It’s only small. About P2 billion, I think that’s enough. You won’t be able to spend it! Go on, just buy them a subdivision or a house and lot maybe."
The President did not specify to whom the P2 billion is intended either immediately before or after the quote. Before the mention of P2 billion, he had introduced the government officials who had accompanied him. Before that, he was talking about mining closures in Surigao del Norte.
He had mentioned DSWD assistance for quake victims in an earlier portion of his speech.
As of posting, 8 have perished from the quake while 209 are injured. – Rappler.com