MANILA - Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos said Monday that the government did all that it could to prepare for Tropical Storm Paeng's onslaught.
He said the local government chiefs also did their best to address their constituents' needs before, during and after the typhoon.
Abalos said the local chiefs adhered to the protocols on disaster preparations days before the typhoon struck, and that they immediately coordinated with the national agencies.
The DILG chief issued the remark days after President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. expressed disappointment and sought an explanation from government offices following the high number of Paeng-related fatalities in Maguindanao.
“It will be important to us to look back and see why this happened na hindi natin naagapan ito,” Marcos said on Saturday when he virtually presided over the full council meeting of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
"I’m a little bit concerned why the situation in Maguindanao was so bad. Let’s study it further, Sec. Solidum, and we’ll find what we can do para mas maging accurate ang mga forecast natin especially sa flooding ‘cause that seems to be the problem now,” he added, referring to Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Renato Solidum Jr.
"We could have done better in Maguindanao in terms of preparing because... the 40 deaths with 10 people missing is a little too high. We should have done better than that."
Abalos said it is important to understand that the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, being an independent entity, has its own structure of governance, with its own Interior and Social Welfare ministries, among some agencies.
But considering the magnitude of destruction that Paeng caused, Abalos said the national government was quick to assist BARMM's needs.
In other parts of the country where massive flooding and landslides were recorded, Abalos said no one can predict the volume of rainfall that the typhoon was going to bring.
But he is satisfied with the preparations of local chief executives, with evacuation centers in place way before Paeng struck.
Abalos, along with other government officials, are still in Mindanao assessing the damage from the country's 16th storm.