Amid Taal volcano’s unrest, President Rodrigo Duterte said he will “put a cap” on its “deadly crater” during the inauguration of the Light Rail Transit-Line 2 East Extension Project last Thursday.
“Not necessarily. Hindi ko malaman kung… Dumaan man kami kanina. Kaunti man lang ang [garbled] ko. Siguro lagyan ko lang ng cap iyong butas (ng) Taal na ‘yan,” the president said.
On January 13 last year, while Taal volcano was under Alert level 4, Duterte said in a press briefing that he will eat Taal’s ashfall and pee on it.
“Kainin ko pa ‘yang ashfall na ‘yan, pati ‘yang Taal ihian ko ‘yan, bwisit na ‘yan,” he said.
Filipinos online find the president’s remarks inappropriate, saying it’s not funny to fool around while people are in danger.
“Para sa isang Batanguena like me na umiyak agad kanina nun nagligalig ang taal, at inisip ko paano ulet kaming mga taga Batangas, tapos ganyan ang maririnig mo sa Presidente, nakaka demoralize eh,” online user wrote.
“If that’s how a president would act, we’re doomed. It’s like saying ‘let’s wait for the damages before we act’,” another user tweeted.
Currently, Taal volcano is under Alert Level 3 after it ejected a one-kilometer plume of steam and magma on Thursday.
Alert Level 3 means there is magmatic unrest, or movement of magma that state volcanologists warn “may further drive succeeding eruptions.”
Not the first time
Duterte is known for cracking jokes in his speeches.
In February last year when COVID-19 back was still called 2019-nCoV, Duterte made headlines after he quipped that he would slap the coronavirus.
In July that year, the president also recommended that the public should disinfect face masks with “gasoline or diesel.”
Months later, in September, Duterte said that the country should be sprayed with “pesticide” amid the coronavirus pandemic.
These remarks earned the public’s ire and some of these were even likened to former US President Donald Trump’s false claims on coronavirus.
Meanwhile, as of Friday, there were already 13 barangays, and 345 families or 1,392 individuals affected by the Alert level 3 hoisted over Taal volcano.
A total of 317 families or 1,282 individuals are being served inside 11 evacuation centers while 28 families or 110 individuals stayed with their relatives and friends, according to the report of Batangas Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer.
Affected population include areas of Poblacion, and Sinturisan in San Nicolas; Gulod, Buso Buso, Bugaan West, and Bugaan East in Laurel; Subic Ilaya, Banyaga, and Bilibinwang in Agoncillo; Apacay, Taal; Luyos, and Boot in Tanauan City, and San Sebastian, Balete.
Additionally, the Department of Social Welfare and Development Calabarzon already prepared food packs amounting to 1.4 million pesos and non-food items worth 11 million pesos for the affected population.
The Department of Information and Communications Technology, on the other hand, is coordinating with telecommunications companies such as Smart and PLDT, and the National Telecommunications Commission in preparation for communication concerns.