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President visits quake-hit towns

President Rodrigo Duterte led the turnover of P5-million checks and food packs to the earthquake-affected towns of M’lang and Arakan in Cotabato.

Right after the wreath-laying at Rizal Park here for the 123rd Rizal Day rite, the president immediately left to visit the evacuees.

“The previous days have been challenging, especially to my fellow Mindanaoans. Natural calamities and disasters have hit the region, taking many lives and destroying properties and depriving the people of vital resources,” Duterte said in his speech at M’lang National High School in M’lang yesterday.

He lamented the situation of displaced families and damaged properties due to the earthquakes.

The president said he is checking the place and people to make sure that they are coping up and recovering from the traumatizing tremors.

Early yesterday, Duterte led the 123rd Rizal Day rite at the Rizal Park.

The president, who arrived at 7:55 a.m., was assisted by his children Mayor Sara Duterte and Vice Mayor Sebastian Duterte, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III in laying the wreath as a tribute to the country’s national hero.

In his message released by Malacañang, Duterte wished that the national hero’s “shining examples be emulated by the youth.”

The president honored Rizal by saying that his “ardent love of country and unfettered desire to cultivate not only his intellect but also the intelligence of his countrymen have led to a reawakening of the Filipino’s patriotism and sense of responsibility.”

“May the freedom we now enjoy as a people be cherished, be further fortified and be kept thriving through the solidarity that we show in combatting the ills of illegal drugs, corruption, and criminality,” he added.

Duterte also encouraged the Filipino people to keep the “embers of nationalism alive” as they face the challenges of “apathy and divisiveness” as Rizal did more than 120 years ago.

All roads leading to the Rizal Park, which is located beside the City Hall of Davao, were closed to vehicles as early as 6 a.m. to ensure the security of the venue. (with MindaNews)

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