No martial law; Noy mulls state of emergency

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino walked out of a meeting when he was pressed to declare martial law in typhoon hit areas, but he is studying the declaration of a state of emergency particularly in Tacloban, Leyte.

 A legal team is studying the possible declaration, Aquino told reporters at Camp Aguinaldo last night.

Once an area is placed under a state of emergency, the national government takes over key functions from the local government such as the delivery of vital services.

Aquino said a provision in the law creating the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) allows the national government to take over if the local government is unable to function during calamities.

But local officials must first come up with a resolution before a state of emergency is declared.

He said the local government of Tacloban had asked the national government to take over the city’s operations since less than 10 percent of its manpower is reporting for duty.

“They also have relatives (who were affected by the typhoon) and some of them may even be victims,” Aquino said.

If the plan pushes through, each of the line agencies under the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) will reconstitute all agencies of the city to preserve peace and order and coordinate in clearing and relief efforts.

The DILG will perform important roles “until such time that the local government unit is able to perform its functions,” the President said.

Meanwhile, Aquino appealed to the media to be more careful in reporting the number of fatalities.

He said they have not received reports that thousands have died because of the typhoon.

“Elsewhere, they are talking about tens of thousands of casualties. We don’t have reports of that yet,” Aquino said.

“If I can appeal, let us reduce the anxiety of those who have relatives in the affected areas by not exaggerating the figures,” he added.

He appealed to the public to wait for validated figures from local governments and disaster management officials.

He also assured the public that efforts are underway to reach individuals and communities needing assistance.

Martial law proposal

Earlier yesterday, the President walked out of his own briefing in Tacloban City after being egged on by a national official and local businessmen to declare martial law in light of the looting in the city, a report on Interaksyon, the online news portal of TV5, said.

The President visited two of the severely damaged areas in the Visayas – Tacloban and Roxas cities – to see what more needs to be done by the government following reports of massive devastation caused by Super Typhoon Yolanda.

The report said Aquino was apparently peeved with the way NDRRMC chief Undersecretary Eduardo del Rosario agreed with the sentiments of local businessmen who wanted him to declare martial law as they were being “slaughtered” by lawless elements.

The President reportedly lost his temper and walked out of the meeting to cool off at the nearby Tacloban City police station where he met with policemen. He returned to the meeting 10 minutes later.

Aquino also led the distribution of relief goods in Tacloban City and Roxas City.

He was accompanied by Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, Secretary Jose Rene Almendras, Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla and Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya. – Alexis Romero, Delon Porcalla, Jose Rodel Clapano, Cecille Suerte Felipe













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