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Duterte offers Davao as possible home for Taal Volcano evacuees

Davao could be a possible alternative home for people affected by the Taal Volcano eruption in Batangas, President Duterte said Monday.

The President has urged the Taal calamity victims to consider relocating to his home province if Taal Volcano will continue its eruptive activity.

READ: Taal Volcano Eruption: This Is The Worst Scenario That Can Happen

Duterte made the invitation after distributing relief assistance to families staying at an evacuation center in Sto. Tomas, Batangas Monday afternoon. It was his second visit to the province since the volcano’s ash explosion last week.

“Kung puputok ulit ‘yan nang puputok nang puputok, puputok-putok, lumipat na lang kayo sa Davao. Maraming Batangueño doon. Totoo. At malawak pa ang lugar doon (If the volcano will explode again, better move to Davao. There are many Batangueños there. It’s true. The land is vast),” he said in his remarks.

Photo from PCOO

Duterte, however, told the Batangas residents who wish to move to Davao that they would have to contend with Mt. Apo, the county’s highest mountain. He said Mt. Apo is not considered an active volcano, but recognized the danger if it wakes up from its slumber and erupts.

“Nandoon ang pinakamalaking volcano sa Pilipinas. At makita mo ‘yan kung walang… On a clear day, makita mo talaga ‘yang — ang Mount Apo. Sa kalaki niya, parang nasa tabi mo lang (The biggest volcano in the Philippines is in Davao. You will see Mt. Apo on a clear day. It is so big, it’s like it’s right beside you),” he said.

READ: Duterte wants ₱30-Billion supplemental budget for gov’t response to Taal eruption

“Pagputok niyan, aabot ‘yung ulo mo sa Pasay. Totoo. But it’s not active, actually. Meron noon may mga apoy-apoy but that was it then. Kung ‘yon ang pumutok, kayo naman ang tutulong sa amin (If that erupts, your head will reach Pasay. It’s true. But it’s not active, actually. There were flames before but that was it. If it erupts, you will be the ones to help us). But until now it has not.”

Duterte added that Davao is blessed with vast fertile lands and a good climate that contributes to stable agricultural production.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers a speech during his visit to the families affected by the Taal Volcano eruption at the Batangas City Sports Coliseum on January 14, 2020. (VALERIE ESCALERA/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO)

“Iyong mga farmers diyan sa — magaganda ang produkto nila. That’s why Davao has been blessed with a fertile land. Ang Davao, diyan banda sa eastern Mindanao, umuulan gabi-gabi. ‘Yung shower lang every night (The farmers there have good products. That’s why Davao has been blessed with fertile land. Somewhere in Eastern Mindanao, it rains every night, just light showers).”

The President, meanwhile, assured the families affected by Taal Volcano’s unrest that the government will continue to provide prompt assistance.

He noted that Congress has proposed a P30-billion budget to aid the calamity victims of the volcanic activity. He said the proposed additional budget may be increased to P50 billion to cover the construction of permanent evacuation centers in calamity-prone areas.

READ: PHIVOLCS: Don’t be fooled by Taal Volcano’s seeming slowdown

“You can be sure that government will respond. Kasi ngayon ang pera ng tao, nandiyan talaga makikita mo. At may pera tayo. Huwag kayong mag-alala (The public funds are there. You can see it. We have funds. Don’t worry),” he said.

In the same speech, Duterte said he was angry with Taal Volcano but all the people could do was to cope with the natural calamity.

“Gusto kong ihian ‘yang p***** i**** butas diyan. Kasi galit ako sa kanya. Kaya lang hindi tao ‘to, hindi mo masampal, masipa (I want to urinate into that son of a b*tch crater. I am angry with it. But it’s not a person so you can’t slap or kick it),” he said.

Photo from PCOO

“Kaya kung ano’ng ibigay niya sa atin, tanggapin na lang natin (We will just have to accept whatever it gives us). That’s… Well, that’s the ways of the — how the world runs.”

LIST: Where you can donate for Taal Volcano relief efforts

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This article first appeared on Manila Bulletin.

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