MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday urged the public to "pray more" in face of calamities due to climate change, even as the country battles the COVID-19 pandemic.
Duterte said he visited on Tuesday the southern province of Surigao Del Sur, which was hit by tropical cyclone Auring over the weekend.
"Noong una, iyong climate change, medyo ano pa ako, parang ayaw akong maniwala. Pero ngayon, sobra talaga ang tubig na galing sa langit because of umiinit ho ang planeta," the President said in a televised speech.
(At first, I was hesitant to believe in climate change. But now, the water from the heavens is excessive because the planet is heating up.)
"Ngayon, wala nang panahon sa bagyo. The bagyo can come anytime," he added.
(There is no longer a season for storms. The storm can come anytime.)
Duterte told the public, "So many things really coming our way, problems. But if you want to have an advice, if you’re ready to get one, there is one thing really that can save this planet, it’s God."
"Maybe we should pray more," he added.
Packing maximum winds of 65 kilometers per hour and 80 kph gusts, Auring was the first storm to hit the Philippines this year. It has since weakened into a low pressure area, which state weather bureau PAGASA said fizzled out early Monday.
The Philippines sees around 20 tropical cyclones annually.
— With a report from Reuters