IN the wake of devastation in the provinces of Bohol and Cebu brought by the killer quake, the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) on Tuesday called on both national and local officials to set aside political retribution.
Instead, UNA Secretary General and Navotas Rep. Tobias “Toby” Tiangco said national and local executives should focus on organizing relief operations to help families who were displaced by the earthquake.
“The people of Bohol and Cebu deserve swift and immediate help and this is not the time for political retribution,” said Tiangco as the 7.2 intensity earthquake that hit Central Visayas enters its second week.
“All the people is asking for is plain decency in times of crisis. Politics is no substitute for generosity of spirit,” he stressed.
Tiangco chided incumbent local executives belonging to the Liberal Party (LP) for responding irrationally to rescue efforts just because either the governors or mayors are not partymates.
He described as “crass and insenstive” the way members of the administration party are managing relief efforts on the ground and scored Interior and Local Government Sec. Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd for hypocrisy in warning local executives against politicizing relief distribution.
According to Tiangco, it took more that 24 hours for the local government to respond and provide relief efforts in the ravaged towns of Loon and Maribojoc in Bohol simply because they are not political allies.
He noted that when President Aquino and Roxas visited Cebu City last week, they did not meet with Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama to discuss the extent of the damage.
The President instead met with Tommy Osmena and other LP members.
In the last local elections, Rama ran for city mayor under UNA and won against Osmena.
“We appeal to LP to keep squabbling out of disaster relief. Punishing political enemies is tantamount to punishing the quake victims and depriving them of the needed help,” Tiangco said.
He noted that humanitarian aid missions should never be politicized because its success depended on contributions from all sectors.
“The devastation wrought by the earthquake demands a quick and swift response from the national government. Let us put aside personal bickering and collectively help in rebuilding from the tragedy,” Tiangco said.
Tiangco said it is incumbent upon the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to break bureaucratic strings in order to ensure that government responds in the most compassionate, effective and efficient way possible.
“We hope that the national government will be in every step of the way in rebuilding Bohol and Cebu just like what they promised to Zamboanga,” he added.
RITCHIE A. HORARIO