After 3 Mindanao earthquakes, Duterte not visiting affected areas
MANILA, Philippines – Three recent earthquakes hit the southern region of Mindanao yet President Rodrigo Duterte is yet to visit areas affected by any of them.
Duterte has even decided to not make such inspection visits in the wake of the magnitude 6.5 earthquake on Thursday, October 31, that rocked parts of Central and Eastern Mindanao.
"The President, however, deems it appropriate to refrain from personally inspecting the disaster-stricken areas and directing actions in response to the catastrophe as there are already ongoing operations by the responsible local government units, and they have so far effectively responded to the current critical situation," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.
The Chief Executive is scheduled to depart for Thailand on Friday, November 1, to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN Summit.
Mindanao is Duterte's home region and bailiwick, often giving him high approval ratings in surveys.
Duterte's decision is also a departure from his usual habit of visiting places struck by natural or man-made calamities, often to hold situation briefings with local government executives and disaster officials. The President would also usually inspect damaged structures themselves or distribute aid to victims.
Malacañang gave assurances that Duterte was "conscientiously monitoring" the situation of the earthquake-hit areas on Thursday morning from his house in Davao City.
Duterte also ordered various government agencies and bureaus to provide assistance to persons affected.
The President was in his house when the earthquake struck. Cracks appeared on the walls of his house, but Presidential Security Group commander Jose Niembra said there was no need to evacuate the First Family.
Crack in wall at the Davao City house of President Duterte.— Pia Ranada (@piaranada) October 31, 2019
PSG chief Jose Niembra says engineers checked the structure to make sure it’s safe. There was no need for the President and his family to evacuate. | Photo from Senator Bong Go @rapplerdotcom pic.twitter.com/YUDUcHThiT
An engineer, however, was asked to assess the safety of the house's structure.
Before the Thursday earthquake, two other earthquakes shook parts of Mindanao. Only two days ago, a magnitude 6.6 earthquake emanating from Tulunan, Cotabato, killed several people and damaged buildings.
The same areas were hit by a strong earthquake on October 16. – Rappler.com