Aquino hit for remarks on Tacloban’s typhoon preparation

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Sunday, November 10, 2013

MANILA -- President Benigno Aquino III was criticized on Sunday for blaming local officials in Tacloban City for not preparing well against the onslaught of Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan), the world’s strongest howler this year.

Yolanda flattened communities in the city and killed scores of people. These reports disappointed Aquino in a briefing at the Camp Aguinaldo on Saturday.

“At a time when our people have barely recovered from the devastation wreaked by Super Typhoon Yolanda, it is simply in bad taste to blame the extent of the damages and casualties to the locality which suffered the most,” said Kabataan party-list Representative Terry Ridon.

Aquino should instead re-assess the government’s disaster preparedness program, the lawmaker said, noting the country has no battle plan to mitigate the effects of calamities.

The plan, which Kabataan will push in the House of Representatives this week, may include pre-disaster activities and infrastructure such as typhoon drills, pre-positioned relief goods, proactive warning systems, and a nationwide emergency response system.

Vice President Jejomar Binay called for a stop to finger-pointing, saying everyone should help in providing relief to survivors and restoring order in affected areas.

“There will be time to determine what went wrong, but at this moment our urgent task is to extend much needed help to the survivors and restore vital public services,” he said.

As housing czar, Binay said Pag-IBIG Fund has deployed roving offices in affected areas to make it easier for members to avail of housing assistance.

Pag-IBIG members may avail of a calamity loan at 5.95 percent annually, payable in two years and a three-month moratorium for those who have existing loans. It also offers assistance to members in insurance claim against allied perils such as typhoon or flood.

The National Housing Authority, for its part, will resettle families who lost their homes due to the typhoon and provide P10,000 worth of building materials to those whose houses were partially damaged.

Binay described the damage inflicted by Yolanda as a “national tragedy.” (Sunnex)

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