Tears for Tacloban-A A +A
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
TACLOBAN City Mayor Alfred Romualdez shed tears when he testified before a congressional oversight committee Monday following the Nov. 8 onslaught of super typhoon Yolanda in his city and others areas in Eastern Visayas, including northern Cebu.
Romualdez, who barely escaped Yolanda’s storm surge, quoted Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, an ally of President Noynoy Aquino, as saying, “You have to remember you are a Romualdez. The President is an Aquino.’’
That will surely be remembered for a long time.
Romualdez said Roxas, “six or seven days” after Yolanda’s landfall, asked him to write a letter stating he could not function as city mayor in the face of the calamity so that the national government could take over.
Roxas on Tuesday said Romualdez took his words out of context, recalling his exact statement: “You have to understand. We are talking very straight here. You are a Romualdez, and the President is an Aquino. So we are being very careful in just taking over because we do not want anything to be misconstrued, misunderstood.”
They were so careful the typhoon survivors have to suffer hunger before help came, if it ever did.
Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, co-chair of the congressional oversight committee on the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010, said there is no room for politics when calamities hit the country.
“There was politics. Politics got in the way of disaster response which is very, very unfortunate,” he said.
But Roxas said the government needed to be careful. “And look – one month later, it 's true. Now they're saying, ‘We didn't get help. We've been victims of politicking,’ and so on and so forth,” he said.
In calamities, everyone should leave politics behind. And maybe, someone’s presidential ambition too.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 12, 2013.