MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said he will pray that the so-called "Big One" will hit Congress while he is delivering his speech so as to give the country a "new day."
The President, who asked the Congress to prioritize the passing of the bill that will create a Department of Disaster Resilience, joked that he once consulted a psychic who said the Batasang Pambansa building will be among the first to be damaged should a big earthquake hit the metro.
"I just heard that from a psychic that the first crack when the 'Big One' hits will be right here in the center of this (building). 'Yan man ang sabi nila. (The) Philippines is so corrupt, it's so lousy that if you kill all congressmen, senators and the president, we will have a new day," he said, as lawmakers and diplomats listening to his speech burst in laughter.
"So I pray that if the earthquake comes, it comes now, this moment. Kumpleto na tayo, may madamay pa tayo doon sa harap," Duterte added.
Malacañang last year submitted to both chambers of Congress the Executive branch’s version of the bill creating the Department of Disaster Resilience.
Duterte had said earlier he wants to have a point person in the country’s disaster management efforts.
State seismologists predict that a 7.2-magnitude tremor would hit Metro Manila in the near future as the West Valley fault is "ripe for a possible strong earthquake."
The "Big One" is expected to result into 37,000 deaths and property damage amounting to P2.4 trillion, based on government estimates in 2015.