MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday admitted that the massive loss of lives and property in Tacloban City after super typhoon Yolanda made him cry twice.
"Iyong nakita ko, I cried twice. I was walking along towards the PNP Headquarters, I could see one family lying together, tapos dalawa, isa, dalawa, and male, female," Duterte said in a speech in Pasay City.
"But I chanced upon this almost five months baby. She was alone beside a dead dog. And so I excused myself from the party, and said I’d like to pee. Actually I was looking for a --- inside the wreckage and I cried.
Duterte, then-Davao City mayor, was one of the local government officials who visited Tacloban when super typhoon Yolanda struck the city in 2013.
"We local government officials, we are not new to disasters. We deal with it, almost every other day. If there's a fire, you have to get up and go to the fire scene and start mobilizing your men and you stay there until you are satisfied that everything is in place," he said.
"That is how we live as local officials. We stare eyeball to eyeball with the human tragedy."
Duterte said he also hopes that no natural disaster as strong and destructive as Yolanda would hit the country again.
He also said Filipinos should next time heed warnings on typhoons.
"What I was really appalled that despite the fact that the warning came to us early and that it would be the most powerful typhoon so far, it’s the nonchalant attitude, many of our countrymen took it lightly," he said.
"When it hit Leyte and Samar, we were all ignorant of what was really happening. "
Duterte issued this statement during the launching and commissioning of the Philippine Red Cross' humanitarian vessel M/V Amazing Grace.
Amazing Grace is the biggest humanitarian vessel in the Philippines which can transport relief goods and function as a hospital.