Palace: No political color in relief ops

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Malacanang on Monday said that relief operations in areas hit by Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) have no political color.

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In a press briefing, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad denied reports that areas whose local officials are not allies of President Benigno Aquino 3rd are being ignored.

“”The color of the Liberal Party is red, white and blue. No but, there is really no truth to all of that,” Abad said, citing that the President wants to assure everyone of those affected by super the typhoon of his concern for them.

On Sunday, President Aquino returned to Tacloban City to personally oversee the ongoing recovery and reconstruction efforts to restore normalcy in areas hit by the super typhoon. He first visited Guiuan, Eastern Samar before proceeding to Tacloban City.

“As far as the President is concerned, that doesn’t even figure in his mind right now because he is thoroughly, completely preoccupied with the search and rescue, with the relief, restoration of utilities like water and power and communication, and the identification and the burial of the cadavers or corpses that are being found in remote places right now,” Abad said.

“So there is really no space in the President’s mind or nor in his thinking about that and I think we should disabuse our people about thinking about that because that is not certainly in his mind right now,” he added

Asked about Vice President Jejomar Binay’s alleged “electioneering” in typhoon-devastated areas, Abad said, “As far as we, in the government, are concerned, we welcome constructive criticisms and suggestions.”

“All the others we will ignore because we really have no more time for those things and we just want to concentrate on the urgent and the gargantuan work that is before us,” he noted..

Earlier, Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras metioned reports of
residents not receiving relief goods because of “political considerations.”

“I’m going to be frank. I’ve been receiving reports that the reason people are saying they have not received any relief although I know that it has been delivered into some of those areas is because there seems to be a political consideration,” he said.

However, when asked by another reporter, Almendras said what he received was “a report” that has yet to be confirmed.

“I acknowledge that I hear such reports. These are not confirmed. We are not sure of that. I would like to think that there are more people who would do the right thing,” he added. CATHERINE S. VALENTE

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