Confusion gripped Malacañang after two Palace officials made conflicting statements about the purpose of the P2 billion promised by President Duterte during his recent visit to Surigao City.
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella contradicted the statement of Communications Secretary Martin Andanar that the funds would supposedly benefit displaced mine workers, not victims of the powerful quake in Surigao.
Recalling the statement of the “primary source,” Abella said the President made a commitment to provide financial aid to the earthquake survivors.
“The primary source is PRRD, and PRRD made the commitment to meet their needs,” Abella said in a Palace news conference.
“The essence of the statement is not the two billion but that the essence of the statement is that he would release the monies and the funds to supply the needs of those affected by the earthquake victims,” he added.
In his visit to quake-hit Surigao City last Sunday, the President promised to extend financial assistance for livelihood programs. He also assured the residents that housing and medicine assistance would also be provided for them.
The next day, Andanar clarified that the funds would go to the workers who might be displaced by the closure of irresponsible mining operations.
Abella however said he was not saying Andanar relayed “wrong information” about the use of the funds. “Let’s just put it this way, let’s stick to what I’m saying now,” he said.
Meanwhile, Malacañang has welcomed a survey showing high public optimism in the quality of life, saying it indicated President Duterte is on the right track in pursuing inclusive growth and peace and order in the country.
“The Social Weather Stations fourth quarter survey showed some very interesting statistics,” Abella said, citing public’s positive outlook about their lives and the local economy.
“The latest survey reaffirms that the President is on the right track for espousing economic progress and peace and order,” Abella said.
The survey, conducted last December, showed 48 percent of the 1,500 respondents expect their quality of life to improve in the next 12 months while only 3 percent expect it to get worse.
At 51 percent of the respondents also voiced optimism that the local economy will improve in the next 12 months while 8 percent think it would deteriorate. (Genalyn Kabiling)