Palace accuses Tacloban mayor of doing ‘disservice’ to people

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

MANILA -- President Benigno Aquino III considers those who were blaming the National Government for its alleged failure to assist areas devastated by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) of doing a "disservice" to the people.

Presidential Communications Operations Office head Herminio Coloma Jr. cited on Tuesday "empirical facts" that Aquino and the National Government had done before and after Yolanda struck the country, particularly in Eastern Visayas.

"The President and the National Government took all necessary steps to prepare the people on the dangers posed by Super Typhoon Yolanda, and after it struck, the government spared no efforts in addressing the needs of the people in the calamity areas," Coloma said in a press briefing.

All of the concerned frontline government departments and agencies, particularly the Department of National Defense, Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Health, and even the Metro Manila Development Authority were deployed in full force to ensure maximum delivery of essential services and assistance in the affected communities, he said.

Coloma also noted that the President even went on national television on the night of November 7 before Yolanda struck the country, warning the people of the severity and magnitude of the typhoon and the possibility of storm surge in over 100 areas.

Coloma also said that Aquino even went twice to Tacloban City to personally oversee the relief efforts and the actions being taken by the military.

"In view of these empirical facts, the President believes that those engaging in a media campaign and putting the blame on the National Government are performing a disservice to the people," Coloma said.

He refused to say if his statement was directed to Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez, who became emotional when he appeared before a congressional oversight committee hearing at the Senate on Monday and blamed the National Government, including Aquino, for the alleged failure to immediately assist the people in the aftermath of Yolanda.

READ: Disaster ops centers needed to avoid ‘post-Yolanda problems’

Typhoon Yolanda, considered as the strongest typhoon in the world this year, left almost 6,000 people dead.

As of 6 a.m. Wednesday (December 11), the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) confirmed 5,959 fatalities and the number is expected to increase with 1,779 people still missing.

At least 27,022 were reported injured, according to the NDRRMC.

The cost of damage remains at P35.547 billion, with P18.226 billion for infrastructure and P17.321 billion for agriculture.

The latest assessment also showed that the number of damaged houses has decreased to 1,192,091.

READ: Yolanda death toll close to 6,000 (SDR/With SFP/John Carlo Cahinhinan/Sunnex)

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