MANILA, Oct 31 (Mabuhay) — Office of the Press Secretary officer-in-charge Cheloy Garafil on Sunday denied claims that President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is in Japan.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (MNS photo)

Garafil made the clarification amid claims that Marcos is currently in Japan amid the onslaught of Tropical Storm Paeng (international name: Nalgae).

“Wala po sya sa Japan,” Garafil told reporters.

On Saturday, Marcos presided over a full council meeting of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) to discuss the response and relief operations after Paeng wreaked havoc in the country.

During the meeting, NDRRMC Executive Director and Office of Civil Defense Administrator Raymundo Ferrer recommended to the President to declare a national state of calamity for a period of one year, unless earlier lifted.

A state of calamity would enable the government to tap additional funds for disaster relief and impose a price freeze on basic commodities.

Marcos said that he will wait and study the resolution, noting that “there are areas that are not in the state of calamity.”

“Maraming regions are affected, that already justifies the state of calamity. Let me wait for your resolution and tignan ko. It looks like especially Region 5, BARMM is going to be put under a state of calamity, kahit yun lang muna,” he added.

(Several regions are affected, and that already justifies the state of calamity. Let me wait for your resolution and I will study it. It looks like especially Region 5 and BARMM are going to be put under a state of calamity. Just those regions first.)

The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao was indeed placed under a state of calamity on Saturday due to massive flooding and landslides caused by continuous rains from Paeng.

Based on its latest situational report, the NDRRMC said that at least 48 people died due to Paeng.

Of the reported fatalities, the agency said 37 were already confirmed, while the remaining 11 were still being validated.

Moreover, a total of 932,077 people or 277,383 families were affected in 2,445 barangays in Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol Region, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Davao Region, Soccsksargen, Caraga, Bangsamoro, and Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).

As of Sunday, 168,453 displaced people or 44,847 families remained in 2,125 evacuation centers, while 196,293 displaced people or 88,348 families were staying outside of evacuation centers.

At least 40,319 people or 10,948 families were also preemptively evacuated in various regions due to Paeng. (MNS)