• Tacloban mayor: Roxas ignored plea to reinforce police

    Testifying at a Senate committee hearing on Monday, Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez (left) wipes away tears while describing the aftermath of super typhoon Yolanda. PHOTO BY EDWIN MULI

    Testifying at a Senate committee hearing on Monday, Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez (left) wipes away tears while describing the aftermath of super typhoon Yolanda. PHOTO BY EDWIN MULI

    TACLOBAN City Mayor Alfred Romualdez on Monday expressed anger and frustration over what he considered as the inaction of national government officials in the aftermath of typhoon Yolanda, particularly the refusal of Interior Secretary Mar Roxas to provide manpower to help look for survivors and help the victims.

    At the post-assessment hearing on Yolanda called by the Senate, Romualdez said he asked for additional security troops to replace members of the city’s police force who were themselves victims of the typhoon.

    “I was asking for support, more foot soldiers to scour the areas, to secure the place and conduct rescue. I was never given that. In fact, I mentioned it to the President and the DILG [Department of Interior and Local Government] secretary to augment the police force, but instead they removed the police chief,” Romualdez, who was close to tears, said.

    He said he made the request for troop augmentation a day after the typhoon hit because the city’s police force was reduced from 293 officers to just 25.

    Romualdez said he repeated his request during their nightly meetings with officials of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and other national government agencies, but his pleas went unanswered.

    He said Roxas asked him to have the city council come up with an ordinance for a curfew to be imposed but Romualdez said that it is not doable since the council members were also victims of the typhoon.

    Roxas then asked him to write a letter stating that the local government of Tacloban could no longer function and that it is allowing the national government to come in.

    But Romualdez said his lawyers advised him not to make a letter because it may be deemed as a resignation.

    “If you can muster thousands (of troops) for the security of the President, why can’t you provide forces to secure the city?” he said, referring to Roxas.

    The mayor said he could not understand why the national government needed a letter signed by him in order to legalize the presence of the government in Tacloban.

    “Secretary Roxas said we should legalize everything. I could not understand why I could not get support from the national government. Secretary Roxas said that ‘we have to be careful because you are a Romualdez and the President is an Aquino’,” the Tacloban mayor said.

    Interviewed after the hearing, Romualdez said Tacloban has not received even a small portion of the foreign donations sent by various countries and foreign organizations.

    He made it clear that he was not suggesting that there is something wrong with the relief
    distribution carried out by the national government.

    “What is being projected is that we have been getting huge amounts of donation, but honestly what we are receiving are donations coming from the local government units. We have not received a single cash or centavo from the international committee,” he told reporters.

    Senator Antonio Trillanes 4th, who presided the hearing, said the committee will invite Roxas to the next hearing.

    Roxas was invited to the hearing yesterday but did not show up.

    Trillanes said the committee would like to know why the DILG was involved in the relief and rescue operations when the law states that it should be the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Committee.


    Please follow our commenting guidelines.


    1. A catastrophe should bury all political disagreements and show the true spirit and pride of the nation. Not the pride of someone who want to be the next president, governor etc. etc. Shame! Shame! Shame! on most of you politicians and officials.
      Right now you all in the government, senate and the house of representatives is losing the opportunity to show the world the you can act like Thailand did in the Tsunami 2004.
      Where is the leadership of the Philippine Islands?
      Where is, in crisis, the united Government, Senate and House of representatives?
      Where is “Serving the Nation and the Filipino people?!!!!!

    2. I think all Filipinos would agree with me that the Politics of Vengeance should end and the country to start in the path of Politics of Healing and Unity. After all whomever succeeds PNoy as President in 2016, be it form the opposition or the present administration, should understand his or her role as President of the entire Filipino people, be they black, white, gay, straight, opposition, administration and regardless of religious beliefs.

      Time for a Healing President and enough of divisiveness. Its up to us individuals in 2016.

    3. I dont like Mar Roxas not because of what happened in Tacloban. Nasimula hindi ko siya hinangaan ng mag-give way siya noon kay Nguyngoy bilang kandidato sa pagka- Pangulo ng bansa. Samantalang siya ng mas naunang nag-deklara na kakandidato. Doon nawalan na siya ng reputasyon, pinaubaya niya ang bansa sa kamay ng isang tao-ni sa guni-guni ni hindi binalak maging pulitiko ever since kundi lang sa pangalan ng kaniyang magulang at kapatid na artista ay hindi kailanman makikilala ng buong bansa.

    4. Honestly if we keep blaming the people in the government aren’t we just blaming ourselves? we keep bickering that this administration and that administration is this and that and so on and so forth. cannot we see the reason why they are seated or why that is our administration? you’ll tell me they cheated that’s why they are there but honestly we voted them in that seat maybe some of you voted for other people, your fault in this situation now is that you didn’t stand up for what you thought is better. now a good advice for everyone stop blaming people if you yourself haven’t done anything worth or useful to the country yet..

    5. eduardo manugue on

      sa simula pa lang,hindi pwede si mar roxas bilang presidente. kahit sa zamboanga siege gumawa rin siya ng eksena,anti muslim din?

    6. saud al mahathirmi on

      hmmm…how about the other side of the coin? there was a report that he was partying before yolanda landed, common be fair before condeming a presidential contender..whose sagging popularity adds insult to injury……

    7. Francisco Sevilla on

      Don’t you know that politics is the number one product of the Philippines? Politics is everywhere in the Philippines. Kapag kapartido ka, tatanggap ka ng grasya. Kung hindi, magtiis ka. Simple, di ba?

    8. Apolonio Reyes on

      People abroad were also brained wash that Balik Bayan says that Pnoy is at least honest thou not competent. I said yes Pnoy is honest but he allow his men to be corrupt and he also buy loyalty and get what he wants using peoples money thru PDAF and DAP. The balikbayan then said ” who could then be our next president, Binay or Lacson? and I told him between Binay, Lacson and Roxas, I will choose Roxas. Now I changed my mind, I will wait for a better third force candidate or will not vote at all come 2016.

    9. clueless trillanes saying the relief & rescue operations should be follow the law! this noynoy government that he supports does not know the law and has no inclination to follow. they have trampled the constitution, corrupted all branches of government. misuse the people’s money to buy loyalty and all sorts of evil things. good for nothing noynoy government!

    10. Sad to say, the President and Roxas will just ignore the hearing and nothing will come out of it. Politica na naman.

    11. ha ha ha it is all baloney, well in fact your wife leave tacloban to be in Manila being interviewed by different network, and only came back when everything is ok. the fact of the matter is your family have ruled tacloban but the lively hood of the people there did not improve. May be you where coach by wife to cry because remember she is an actress too. all i see in the tv is your administrator atty tecson lim, he should be given an outstanding honor for what he did.

      • muntik na rin namatay mga yan pare kaya hwag mo sila siraan. ang dapat mo sisihin si roxas at ang presidente nya. sino nga ba yun?

    12. Very clearly, Aquino’s administration playing politics with people’s lives in the balance in Tacloban and other areas. This is inexcusable.
      It was clear to many when soon after the typhoon, Aquino said something to the effect of the cities/towns w/c were “prepared” for the typhoon would get the relief goods first over those (like Tacloban) w/c he deemed unprepared.
      I am not a Romualdez or Marcos fan (and am not a fan of any of the oligarchy families in the Philippines), but when lives hang in the balance like it did/does in Tacloban and other areas, politics should not enter into the decision of whether an area receives relief goods.

      The Philippines needs leaders who don’t play politics with people’s lives, who fight corruption (and not use a slogan just to get elected), honest people who don’t steal the people’s money, who work for the good of the nation and not just to benefit the few members of the oligarchy.