Duterte ponders over death as he hopes for survivors in Ompong landslide

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 18 2018 07:09 PM

Rescuers retrieve one of the bodies buried under tons of mud in Barangay. Ucab, Itogon Benguet on September 17, 2018. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday condoled with the families of those who died during the onslaught of typhoon Ompong in Luzon, as he prayed that those still missing be eventually found alive.

Duterte on Monday met with the families of the typhoon casualties in Benguet and distributed cash assistance.

He also opened up about his concept of death, in an attempt to console grieving families.

“Even if I make a vain attempt to blame somebody, to blame the weather, or maybe to blame the negligence of others, it won’t really help. Ang sikreto dito is just the acceptance, hindi yung namatay, tapos na iyon eh, that we are born and we will die,” Duterte said in a meeting with the typhoon victims’ families on Monday.

“Sa ayaw man natin at hindi, our appointment with our earthly existence is handled by one creator… As you ponder on the death of your loved ones and those who are yet to be found, I’m just praying to God that they are all maybe somewhere there at buhay pa. I pray to god na sana buhay pa lahat, but for those na talagang inevitable na nandyan na, I can only promise you what government can do.”

Ompong, the strongest storm in the world so far this year, ripped through northern Luzon over the weekend, leaving a trail of destruction and killing scores in its path.

Police said the number of people who died in the onslaught of Ompong in Luzon has climbed to 74, while at least 55 more remain missing.

Itogon, Benguet sustained the most casualties, after a mining settlement was hit by landslides.

Authorities said chances of finding survivors beneath the rubble are now slim as it has been days since the incident.