MANILA - President Aquino will spend Holy Week in Manila as he leads the rest of the government in preparing for a coming typhoon and other possible situations that may occur, Malacañang said yesterday.
The President will conduct an inspection of major transport terminals in Batangas and Metro Manila today in time for Filipinos’ exodus to provinces or abroad.
“As far as the government is concerned, as far as the President is concerned, all hands are on deck, (as) with any expected or unforeseen situations, incidents that may arise during Holy Week,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said yesterday in a press briefing.
“The President always makes it a point to inspect terminals to ensure the safety and convenience of our Filipino riding public,” Lacierda said.
He recalled that Aquino was supposed to spend a quiet Holy Week last year, but had to hold an emergency meeting with Cabinet members because of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) scare.
“There is a possibility of a storm so again, all hands on deck regardless of whether… the entire country is contemplating Holy Week,” Lacierda said.
Typhoon Maysak, to be locally named Chedeng, is expected to enter the Philippine area of responsibility today and affect the country this weekend.
Lacierda said the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) is on top of the situation, along with the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).
“We will be provided timely warnings. At the same time, the NDRRMC is composed of several Cabinet agencies so all of them are informed of the incoming storm and insofar as the roles of each Cabinet agency, they already know what to do,” he said.
He said local government units to be affected have been alerted and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has pre-positioned goods for relief operations.
Meanwhile, the vacation leaves of more than 19,000 police personnel were cancelled this Holy Week.
“This is the right time when we can maximize our policemen to ensure the security of the public,” National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Director Carmelo Valmoria said, noting that they had been on full alert since Saturday.
But Valmoria clarified that the full alert status would be downgraded to a heightened alert status after the Holy Week and if “everything will be fine” next week.
The public can send their complaints to the NCRPO through text at 0915-8888-181, 0999-901-8181 or 0917-8475-757, or through the hotline 838-32-03 or 0999-324-7881.
The 117 hotline also remains active.
Live for others
In his message for the Holy Week, Aquino said he would be joining “fellow brothers and sisters in Christ as we pause from our daily lives” to observe Lent.
“This occasion reminds us all of God’s eternal love, and of the reassurance of His promise of salvation and resurrection for all humanity. The underlying message of love, selflessness and sacrifice guides and inspires us all as we strive to create a nation that listens to the voice of the less fortunate, attends to the needs not of the few but the many, and caters to the interests of both present and future generations,” Aquino said. – With Robertzon Ramirez
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