MANILA, Philippines – Marikina Vice Mayor Jose Fabian Cadiz on Friday explained the absence of the city's executive head at the height of the monsoon rains the past few days.
Cadiz said Mayor Del De Guzman left for the United States last Friday to attend a conference on environment.
Still reeling from the heavy rains brought by tropical cyclone "Gener" last week, Metro Manila and nearby areas were again hit by strong monsoon rains on Sunday, leaving most parts of the metropolis under water.
Cadiz said De Guzman decided not to attend the conference and fly back to Manila, but was not able to secure a ticket.
"Hindi na siya naka-attend, [sinubukan niyang] kumuha ng ticket pero peak season daw. He had a hard time looking for a ticket but now he's coming back to be with us during our time of need," Cadiz told ABS-CBN's Umagang Kay Ganda.
Cadiz serves as the second in command and has been actively overseeing rescue and relief operations in the flood-hit city.
"As vice mayor, I have to fill in for him because it is my duty and responsibility," he added.
Marikina evacuees allowed to go home
On Friday, Marikina authorities gave the go signal to evacuees to return to their homes as floods subsided in most parts of the city.
"Of course, bibigyan na natin ng green light ang residente na bumaba at linisin ang tahanan. With the warning na kapag [umabot muli] sa first alarm, they should readily go back sa mga evacaution centers," Cadiz said.
Cadiz said as of 5:30 a.m. Friday, water level at the Marikina river was at 15.2 meters above sea level.
Cadiz, meanwhile, appealed to donors to course their donations through the city's rescue headquarters at the Marikina City Sports Complex for an orderly distribution of relief goods.
"The Marikina command center was set up to syncrhonize everything. Kami ang nakakaalam ng mga komunidad na pinaka-nangangailangan ng tulong," he said.