• Palace on Bohol mayor’s attempt to stop Red Cross relief workers


    Malacañang on Tuesday called for closer coordination between the local government units and the emergency response organization in distribution of relief goods to afflicted residents.

    Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. made the statement after it was reported that the mayor of Maribojoc town in Bohol, one of the worst hit by last week’s magnitude 7.2 earthquake, attempted to stop Philippine Red Cross’ relief distribution because he wanted the goods turned over to the local government.

    Coloma said that they recognized that both parties have their own positions on how relief goods are distributed to the people.

    However, he pointed out that they should focus on helping quake victims instead of bickering over distribution rules.

    “Ang dapat pong makita natin ay ‘yung paghahatid ng kagyat na pagtugon sa mga pangangailangan ng ating mga kababayang nasalanta ng kalamidad, lalung-lalo na ‘yung patungkol sa pagkain at ‘yung sa sisilungan nila,” he said

    These “should not be jeopardized by any disagreements on the manner of distribution of relief goods,” Coloma added.

    Asked if the national government will ask the local executives to hasten  rebuilding efforts, Coloma said that they have already coordinated with the local officials “to adopt a very proactive and a very positive outlook.”

    The Palace official, on one hand, recognized the challenges on the ground, citing in particular “the logistics in terms of evening out and hastening the distribution of goods.”

    For this reason, the President always asks for update from officials to ensure that there’s no obstacle on the efficiency of distribution of relief goods, Coloma said.

    The national government officials are there “to make sure that government assistance, private sector assistance is channeled in the most efficient way and the welfare of our people is not jeopardized further,” he added

    With regards to the rehabilitation, Coloma said that the P7-billion budget will be released once a work plan is crafted.

    He said that releasing the fund needs urgency so that the local economy and the people’s lives could normalize.

    “Ito po ay isa sa mga dinudumog ng mga tourist at makakaapekto po ‘yon sa mobility ng ating mga domestic and foreign tourists kung hindi po maa-address ‘yung damage to infrastructure,” Coloma added. CATHERINE VALENTE


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    1. I understand the mayor probably wants to ensure even distribution of relief goods all over the affected locations. But I also know by experience that Red Cross adheres to strict guidelines with their services, and would not randomly go around and ‘drop’ the relief goods they have and just go.

      What really disappoints me is that the relief goods were not distributed in the end just because the mayor stopped them (as he said in a radio interview). If he really just wanted to ensure the even distribution of goods, why did he not just assist them on the spot and cooperate with them? After all, as this article points out, what matters is that help is given to those in need. Everyone who wants to pitch in should prioritize that. Malacanang is right to step in, but I just wish it didn’t have to be necessary. Sayang ang oras, and there are people getting hungry as the day goes by.