PNoy slams critics for belittling Yolanda rehab efforts

3 years ago

To mark the first anniversary of Typhoon Yolanda, President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III visited Eastern Samar on Friday, November 7.

The President turned over housing units to displaced families in the town of Guian.

The Palace said that Aquino was not able to go to Tacloban City in Leyte, another area hit hard by the typhoon due to his “tight schedule.”

Addressing critics

In his speech at Guian, Aquino slammed those who keep on saying that the government’s response to the areas devastated by the disaster was slow and the assistance given was not enough.

The President stressed the difficulty of feeding a total of 1.47 million families who were displaced when Yolanda struck the Philippines on November 8, 2013.

He also noted that Yolanda came as the country was still reeling from the devastating effects of the magnitude 7.2 earthquake in Bohol, and the siege of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in Zamboanga last year.

“Isipin po ninyo sa usapin na lang ng relief goods. Kapag nagpakain kayo sa bahay ninyo, sabihin na natin sa isang pamilya 5 ang miyembro… Dumating bigla ang mga kamag-anak mo, biglang 10 na ang pakakainin mo, kakayanin mo pa rin yan. Sabay natunugan ng mga kapitbahay mo na sa inyo may pagkain, magiging 15 o 20 na ang pakakainin mo. So siyempre po darating ang punto na pahirap ng pahirap,” he said.

“Eh isipin ninyo kayo lumagay sa gobyerno. Talagang ang husay siguro ng isang tao na mapapasaya at mabubusog lahat ng darating sa kanyang tahanan. Eh tayo ho ba ilang pamilya ang kinailangan nating sabay-sabay na mabigyan ng pagkain at agarang mga pangangailangan? Uulitin ko lang po ha: 1.47 milyong pamilya,” he added.

The President went on to say that despite the progress made on the rehabilitaiton of Yolanda-hit areas, it was unfair for critics to expect that everything would be running smoothly in record time.

“Kumbaga nga po sa pasyente, matapos ang sakuna, talaga pong parang nasa ICU ang mga pinakaapektadong lugar, ‘di ba? Natapos na ang operasyon pero hindi pa natin masasabing nagamot na. At nang magawa na nating lahat para siya’y ma-stabilize, naging malinaw sa ating napakarami pang kailangang gawin upang masigurong mailalabas siya ng ospital nang mas mabuti na ang kondisyon,” he pointed out.

At this, Aquino said he is already leaving it to God to help enlighten his critics of what his administration has done for the typhoon victims.

Progress report

According to the President, 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 (DSWD) has distributed about 12.2 million family food packs, also with the help of non-government organizations (NGOs).

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

Farmers have also been provided with seeds and fertilizers while fishermen have been given about 30,000 boats, he said.

He also said schools being built in Yolanda-hit areas are expected to be finished by June 2015. Over 6 million textbooks are also expected to be distributed.

He said government has also fully rehabilitated three airports and 14 ports damaged by the massive typhoon. He said government also plans to relocate the airport in Tacloban, which was one of the worst hit areas.

“Hindi naman po kalabisang sabihin na ang agarang kinailangan agaran din nating tinugunan. Buong pwersa ng gobyerno, kasama ang ating mga katuwang sa pribadong sektor, ibinuhos po talaga ang lahat ng magagawa para sa mga apektadong lugar,” Aquino said.

He thanked the private sector for contributing P12.98 billion for Yolanda recovery efforts. He also thanked the United Nations (UN) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for recognizing the government’s rehabilitation efforts despite the magnitude of Yolanda.

Hopeful note

Aquino said that more still needs to be done, and his bosses—the Filipino people—should continue to take the “tuwid na daan” and cooperate with each other to build back a better and more resilient country.

Aquino believes the country will be able to fully recover from the tragedy.

“Kapag nga lumilingon ako sa pinanggalingan natin at tinitingnan ang ating narating na, talaga naman pong lalong lumilinaw sa akin: Nangyayari ang pagbabago. Nangyayari ang pagbangon,” he said.

Tacloban survivors’ lament

The Palace had earlier said that the President’s schedule was so tight so he didn’t have time to stop in Tacloban.

Aquino is preparing for the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Conference (APEC) summit — which will be held from November 9 to 11 in Beijing, China — and the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) summit in Myanmar from November 12 to 13.

Still, some Yolanda survivors in Tacloban have expressed their disappointment over Aquino’s non-appearance.

Efleda Bautista of the group, People Surge, said, “Isang taon na ang nakalipas pero di pa rin natin nakakamit ang hsutisya para sa kriminal na kapabayaan ng pamahalaan.”

The group was said to be dismayed that the President won’t be marking the Yolanda anniversary in Tacloban.