Palace: Gov’t shouldn’t be blamed in Tacloban tent city fire

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

THE Aquino administration could not be blamed for the fire that hit the tent city in Tacloban City where seven people, including six children, were killed on Wednesday, a Palace official said Thursday.

While Malacanang was saddened by the incident, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said that looking into the overall picture, many experts were saying that the government was on track in implementing relief and rehabilitation programs in areas hit by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in November last year.

"We must acknowledge the breadth, depth and complexity of the task at hand, and it would not be responsible to simply blame government because this is something that can be empirically determined," he said.

"Baka naman hindi rin karapat-dapat na tayo ay maglalatigo sa sarili na walang katwiran—self-flagellation," Coloma added.

Some lawmakers have been blaming the government's alleged slow rehabilitation efforts why a fire razed a tent, killing a mother and her six children who were temporarily housed there since Yolanda struck the country last year.

Reportedly, there was no electricity in the tent city and Yolanda survivors have been using kerosene lamps.

The fire was allegedly due to unattended kerosene lamp.

Coloma insisted that the government continues to extend assistance to the people displaced by Yolanda.

"Sinasabi lang po natin dito, sa bawat oras, sa bawat araw na dumadaan, nananatili ‘yung pagkalinga at pagtulong ng pamahalaan na sinisikap na gawin ang lahat ng nararapat. Kung meron pong pagkukulang, hinihingi ang pag-unawa ng mga naaapektuhan. Humihingi rin ng kongkretong suhestiyon at panukala sa mga nakaaalam dahil hindi naman po talaga kakayanin ng pamahalaan na nagsosolo," he said.

But with what happened in the tent city, the Palace official said the government will investigate the incident to prevent similar tragedy from happening again.

"Naganap din ito mga past midnight kaya merong mga implications, number one, 'yung safety procedures. Ano ba 'yung safety precautions diyan sa mga temporary shelters na ngayon? Dapat siguro tingnan 'yon. Pangalawa, 'yung emergency response in case of fires. Dapat siguro merong mas responsive na sistema, at most basically, to ensure the safety and well-being of all others that are now in the temporary shelters," he said. (SDR/Sunnex)

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