A gutsy student who bewailed the government’s slow response to the super typhoon that leveled entire communities in Central Visayas elicited an apology from President Benigno Aquino 3rd.
Zar Agustin Yu, a student of the Hope Christian School who hails from Tacloban City said it took three days before government aid reached her battered barangay.
“Based on my own experience in Barangay 48 where I live, we did not receive any help from the government—no relief, no medical care, nothing. It took three days before the help came. So why did it take a long time before the government could help the people of Tacloban during the Typhoon Yolanda?” the student asked the President.
“I apologize if we couldn’t act even faster,” Aquino told Yu.
He admitted that the response could have been faster, but the magnitude of the typhoon was overwhelming.
The President explained that the magnitude of the devastation was “unprecedented in our history.”
“You have something like close to four million families affected by it. So four million families something like 20 million people,” he added
But Aquino insisted that his government did everything it could, including deploying Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin to Tacloban during the typhoon.
“Now, iyong getting all of the food, getting all of the water, getting it from where it was to bringing it there. Clearing the roads so that the trucks will be able to get there, not just in Tacloban, but even if we use the land route coming from Sorsogon and crossing through Samar, we had to also clear all of those roads. A plane, a C-130 aircraft can carry about a 1,500 food packs, not enough. We have only three C-130s, I think I should add that,” he explained
“Our people were there beforehand. We made mistakes in terms of being able to call on the indigenous government entities on the onset,” Aquino said.
The President promised to do better the next round.
“We are also students, we want to learn from this experience and do even better next time,” he said.