Mayor Rodrigo Duterte (right) briefs the Tacloban-bound medical and rescue team. (photo courtesy of Davao City Information Office.)

Mayor Rodrigo Duterte (right) briefs the Tacloban-bound medical and rescue team. (photo courtesy of Davao City Information Office.)

Davao Today

Davao City – Mayor Rodrigo Duterte joined a 55-person contingent of rescuers and medical personnel to Tacloban City last Saturday to help relief and retrieval operations after Typhoon Yolanda.

The mayor rejoined the contingent Monday morning, as he told reporters the contingent was still holed up in Maasim Leyte, as clearing operations were underway to clear the highway going to Tacloban City.

The mayor sent the contingent of 20 doctors, 20 nurses and some search and retrieval team of Davao 911 early Saturday to show the city’s “imperative need and moral obligation to help.”

Tacloban was left flattened by Typhoon Yolanda last Friday, leaving perhaps a thousand dead and people reportedly scampering for food and shelter.

Duterte said he instructed Major Solamo, Task Force Davao officer and head of the contingent, to warn people in Leyte not to stop the contingent as it only carried medicines, not food.

“Whenever they are stopped anywhere, they just have to announce that this contingent is from Davao City and that we are there with doctors and medicines, sabihin sa mga tao na pumapara na wag galawin to. Sabi ni Mayor Duterte pag ginalaw to babarilin ko kayo. (tell the people who will stop you not to take things away, or else Mayor Duterte warned he will shoot you.)” Duterte said.

“If they get their hands on the medicines, what’s the use of our doctors there?” Duterte explained. “Let them choose, let us add to the casualties with bullets. If they start climbing on the legs, shoot them in the leg.”

He said the medical relief is in a race against time as they would bring medicines to treat pneumonia, antibiotics, and anti-tetanus shots.

Duterte added that food relief, mostly coming from international donors, are arriving at Leyte and would be given soon.

The mayor also said he will be flying to meet with the Mayor Alfred Romualdez of Tacloban and governor Leopoldo Petilla of Leyte and hand financial aid worth up to P 8 million.

He said the city donated P3 million for Leyte Province, and P2 million each for Tacloban and Maasim cities. The mayor added that he was born in Maasim.

Duterte also shot down suggestions from Tacloban officials to declare martial law in the city following looting and chaos.

“We are not dealing with fighting forces, we are dealing with human misery,” he said. “In my humble opinion, I’ll declare a national emergency, then I can control the movement of people, I can control unruly behavior, I can control lawless violence, I can control the prices of the goods.”

Reports said a state of emergency was declared Monday in Tacloban City, as a curfew from 10 pm to 6 am was imposed. (John Rizle L. Saligumba, davaotoday)

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