TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines (UPDATED) – Tacloban officials are urging President Benigno Aquino III to declare a state of emergency in the city, and if needed, martial law, after the devastation caused by Super Typhoon Yolanda (international codename Haiyan).
Such declaration will prevent anarchy, according to Vice Mayor Jerry Yaokasin, who reported that widespread looting is already taking place.
Yaokasin made the appeal in a meeting with the President and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council here Sunday, November 10.
City Administrator Tecson Lim echoed Yaokasin's concern.
The President, however, said the city council must first pass a resolution to that effect and establish there is threat of violence or anarchy. He added he is ready to act on the resolution as long as it's endorsed by the city mayor and the representative of the first district, where Tacloban is situated.
Aquino was reported to have walked out of a briefing with local and national officials Sunday, dismayed with the level of response to the typhoon. He returned to the meeting shortly after. Communications Assistant Secretary Rey Marfil later denied Aquino walked out, saying the President only took a bathroom break.
Chaos in the city
Tacloban was the hardest hit based on initial reports. At least 100 people died in the city, and more reports of casualties are expected as officials continue to assess the damage.
There's widespread looting in malls and establishments as residents scrounge for food and any useful material to help them survive the aftermath of the typhoon.
Rappler reported on Sunday that gunshots were fired outside a jail near the city hall after some prisoners attempted to escape. According to one jail officer, they have recaptured the prisoners.
Get the latest info on the status of areas affected by typhoon Yolanda (international codename: Haiyan).
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