Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo on Monday stressed that Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana’s directive for setting up checkpoints in earthquake-affected areas in Mindanao is only for the safety of the public and for an orderly process of delivering relief goods.
The Palace official noted that while concerns were raised by some that the checkpoints could stall or hamper the relief operations in areas devastated by the quake, he said that Lorenzana just wants to have order since the Defense chief is the one accountable.
“I think what the Secretary wants is that there should be order and specifically or specially because he is the one accountable for the donation. You must remember he is the chief. So he has to account for all of this,” Panelo said on the sidelines of the 35th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Summit.
Panelo added that he is confident that the procedure by which what Lorezana would want can be achieved without derailing, preventing or stopping people who want to help in other countries.
The Defense chief earlier said that the setting up of checkpoints was his response to help stabilize the situation in areas heavily damaged by the successive quakes that hit many parts of Mindanao over the last few weeks.
Lorenzana added that the checkpoints will also help in ensuring that only legitimate and authorized relief workers are granted access to evacuation centers.
To recall, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on Saturday has tasked Lorenzana to lead relief efforts in earthquake-stricken parts of Mindanao.
In his directive, Medialdea said that Lorenzana — as head of the Department of National Defense (DND) and Martial Law Administrator – will lead all relief efforts and to ensure safety and security of the public in the earthquake stricken areas of Mindanao.