• President slams critics of Yolanda rehab

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    Airport Briefing  President Benigno Aquino 3rd shows the pictures of Tacloban right after it was ravaged by Super Typhoon Yolanda during a press conference in Villamor Airbase  on Friday before he left for Guiuan, Samar. PHOTO BY RENE DILAN

    Airport Briefing
    President Benigno Aquino 3rd shows the pictures of Tacloban right after it was ravaged by Super Typhoon Yolanda during a press conference in Villamor Airbase
    on Friday before he left for Guiuan, Samar. PHOTO BY RENE DILAN

    On the first anniversary of Super Typhoon Yolanda’s devastation, President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Friday lashed out at those who continue to criticize the government’s efforts the rebuild the hardest-hit areas.

    Instead of flying to Tacloban City, where the commemoration of the tragedy is centered, the President went to Guiuan, Eastern Samar, where typhoon Yolanda made the first of six landfalls on November 8, 2013 before unleashing its full fury on Central Visayas.

    In his speech, President Aquino outlined what the administration has done to speed up recovery, but he also hit at his detractors.

    “For those who don’t get tired of criticizing our every move, I will let God deal with them. The day might come that God will give them additional knowledge and kindness, that they may straighten up,” he said.

    Aquino anticipated his critics’ tirade about his not having visited Tacloban instead.

    “Despite all these initiatives, I have a strong feeling that first thing tomorrow, someone will still say I’ve neglected Tacloban. It’s up to you to recognize who would say such things,” he said.

    The President said some people look only for quick fixes and not long-term solutions that would prevent massive devastation in the future.

    He rejected monetary dole-outs to typhoon victims, saying it would not sustain their needs.

    “There are those who say I should just give P40,000 to every family instead of these long-term solutions. Let me ask you, is it right that I just try to impress you? I hand money to every family that would have been spent for these projects: ‘Here, cash. You’re on your own,’” he said.

    “Then what will happen? After the P40,000 is done, I won’t have to worry anymore. But how long will the P40,000 last after food, school, all the expenses of the family?,” he added

    Aquino said he would rather get criticized for doing what he thinks is right for the typhoon survivors.

    “So go ahead, curse me, criticize me, but I think we should do it right. My conscience won’t be able to bear leaving you on your own, to allow tragedies to keep happening and say, ‘My job here is done.’ You are my bosses. I won’t be able to deal with that,” he said.

    The President’s remarks were a response to criticisms that the government’s assistance to typhoon survivors was not enough.

    He stressed the difficulty of feeding 1.47-million displaced families every day.
    Considered as the strongest typhoon to hit land in 2013, Yolanda devastated Eastern Visayas.

    With record winds that spawned tsunami-like storm surges, Yolanda flattened entire communities and left thousands homeless.

    More than 6,300 were killed, about 1,000 went missing while thousands more were injured due to the typhoon.

    Aquino decided to forego a stop at Tacloban, and go to Guiuan instead, a decision that he defended at a news conference in Villamor Airbase upon his return from Guiuan, where he was briefed on government preparations for possible Ebola cases in the country.

    Responding to questions about his choice of Guiuan over Tacloban to commemorate the tragedy, the President said, “At the end of the day, this is not politics.”

    He was apparently referring to speculations that he skipped Tacloban to avoid its mayor, Alfred Romualdez, with whom he has traded barbs over  Yolanda preparedness and recovery.

    Asked to comment on criticisms about his choice, Aquino answered: “Can anybody claim that [they]were the worst hit?”

    The President noted that he has already visited Leyte many times, but his visit on Friday was only his second time in Guiuan.

    According to Aquino, the government has done everything it can to address all the needs of the typhoon victims, which includes providing them food, clothes, shelter and livelihood assistance.

    He said the Department of Social Welfare and Development has distributed about 12.2 million family food packs, also with the help of non-government organizations.

    He also noted that the Department of Labor and Employment has provided livelihood assistance to about 33,000 people, while about 21,000 have graduated from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority’s vocational education and training programs.

    The President also said that schools being built in the disaster areas are expected to be finished by June next year.

    Three airports and 14 ports damaged by the typhoon have been repaired or rebuilt, he said.
    The President thanked the private sector for contributing P12.98 billion to  Yolanda recovery efforts.

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    10 Comments

    1. Ernesto Inigo Llaneza on

      I was a University student in the seventies at the University belt. Looking back, traffic is already a way of life. Traffic is even aggravated if it rains. I was in my teens ,and at present sixty one years old. Problem was obvious and it needed solutions. Yes, tax money were spent for the past forty years and yet, the problem still persist and even got worst.
      Last year, our dear country was hit with one of the strongest typhoon ever recorded in the story of mankind. Again the problem is obvious and it needed quick solutions to alleviate the livelihood and sufferings of victims. True that the rehabilitation was to snail phase. But I rather have a slow but sure approach in solving this gigantic task.. According to one of the planners, houses that are being built can withstand 250 kilometers of wind and a magnitude of intensity 9.
      For now, I believe that President Aquino and his cabinet are doing their best for the common good of all of us. They are sincere and trustworthy too. History will eventually attest to my claim. Should I be mistaken, the Lord almighty will be the best judge to us all. May God Jesus Christ have mercy on us.

    2. what was lacking in the rehab plan was the quick response plan should have addressed the immediate needs after yolanda struck! before yolanda hit land, noynoy proudly said on national TV that his government is more than ready and all resources already in place to respond after the storm… the results of his government’s preparedness is now a sad history to those who survived and living memory of the more than 7000 people dead!

      • victor m. hernandez on

        When everything in the devastated area was difficult to reach due to logistical concerns, quick response just cannot be done. Those who were on the ground were also rendered incapable to respond as quickly as outsiders or those victims expected. We learn from this experience, and hope that the Build Back Better Program will include this logistical concern so that next time around (knock on wood) we shall see quick response to a disaster like of which we’ve never experienced before.

    3. noy, laki laki ng mga mata mo, meron pang glasses, pero ang labo ng paningin mo, kasinglabo ng pag iisip mo! NOY, HARAP KA SA SALAMIN< AT KAUSAPIN MO SARILI MO! STOP TALKING TO US, WE DONT WANT TO TALK TO YOU, MORE SO, TO LISTEN.

      • you can say it again. walang kwentang presidente talaga. that is why i have no respect for this man. i do not and will not call him president. puro salita kulang sa gawa. incompetent talaga.

    4. Dorotea Amante on

      I think PNoy should appoint Richard Gordon in place of Ping Lacson as Rehabilitation Czar. What Gordon has done in Olongapo after Pinatubo was a record. He is one of the best qualified for the position.

    5. PNoy always tell us that the people are his bosses and the people in the Visayas are telling him that he has not done much for them – why doesn’t he listen to his bosses and accept the fact, and instead slams them??? Hey man, they are your bosses.

      And when he was talking on the main issue, his words had many errors and had to repeat and repeat it – it was a prepared speech and not coming honestly from his heart.

    6. Taking their sweet time to hatch a master plan (which took several months) is not a solution. It’s tantamount to saying, “we’ll figure out a plan that cannot be criticized, then we’ll get back to you guys”. I don’t think it’s a matter of opinion that saying the government response was slow. There’s is a general consensus among journalists (local and foreign) and the actual victims that too little was done in a reasonable amount of time. PNoy’s claims mean nothing if they cannot be backed by evidence.

    7. It is very clear that the Government specially Pnoy has not done enough to solve the Yolanda crisis. Their best kuno was not even good enough. Cries for help is very loud that I can only imagine how Pnoy could not hear and sleep. DSW reports (thanks to Dinky) that they have done poorly. Where are the donations? No one really knows. Ping as the designated CZAR of rehab has some questions to answer. A lot of oppositions did not approved Ping’s new rehab position. They think he is not qualified. And they were very right.

    8. Thank you, Manila Times and Ms. Valente.
      Mr. Pesident, you and Sec. Roaxas and Sec, Gazmin–as well as those in your cabinet and the other officials who have been incompetent, thoughtless and lazy in your and their risk reduction and risk management of Yolanda and the rescue and relief operations as well as the rehablilitation of the lives and homes of the victims–are crimnally liable. By Philippine laws and by the law of God you must answer for the deaths, the loss of property and dgnity of the victims of the supertyphoon. May God “deal with you” and your associates. May the day come soon when God “gives you ….additional knowledge and kindness, that yoiu may straighten up,” and drop on your knees and ask for forgiveness for your crimes.