WITH the various natural and man-made calamities that pounded the country, 2013 is indeed a tough year for the Philippines, according to President Benigno Aquino 3rd.
Speaking before the Bulong Pulungan on Tuesday, the Chief Executive admitted that the nation is still hurting after being hit by both natural and man-made calamities.
He cited the 7.2 magnitude killer earthquake that hit the provinces of Cebu and Bohol, super typhoon ‘Yolanda’ that devastated Eastern Visayas and the failed siege in Zamboanga City by members of the Moro National Liberation Front-Nur Misuari faction.
“Mabigat po ang taong ito pero mabigat rin ho itong sunod-sunod na sakunang umabot sa atin gawa ng kalikasan o gawa ng tao [This year has been a very difficult one for us due to the disasters we faced, both natural and man-made],” he added.
However, Mr. Aquino assured that the government will not give up in overcoming these challenges adding that he is proud to be the leader of a people who is unbowed by calamity.
“Palagay ko po, isa lang ang mapapagmalaki natin: Hindi tayo dumaing at hindi mangunguna ang gobyerno n’yo na sabihing ‘panahon nang sumuko [But we can take pride in that the people and the government never surrendered. This is a government that draws strength from the people],” he said.
Despite recent major woes that hit the country in past months, Mr. Aquino said he is thankful for and heartened by the “never-say-die spirit” of Filipinos in coping with such tragedies.
In September, followers of Misuari occupied parts of Zamboanga City to declare independence and took hostages but government troops eventually crashed them.
On October 15, a magnitude 7.2 quake jolted Central Visayas which devastated Bohol province while last November, Super Typhoon Yolanda devastated Visayas and Southern Luzon, leaving more than 5,500 dead
But Mr. Aquino said that when he revisited Bohol recently, he was awed to see the people remaining resilient and getting back on their feet.
“Bohol still experiences brownouts of six hours a day but the people continue to cope,” he said.
He also commended Philippine Air Force (PAF) personnel who brought soldiers to Tacloban City despite the inclement weather brought by super typhoon Yolanda, just to open the Tacloban airport.
The President also said he is thankful to security forces, including the police and military, for defending Zamboanga City from rogue Misuari followers.
He said the government’s troops fearlessly repelled the attackers even if they knew their armored vehicles could be vulnerable to powerful weapons like recoilless rifles.
RITCHIE A. HORARIO