PNoy: I want to get mad, but…
MANILA -- President Benigno Aquino III urged local governments to work with the national government so that relief efforts will be easy to reach those affected by Super Typhoon Yolanda.
“Bilang pangulo niyo, bawal ako magalit. Maski gaano ang inis ko, daanin ko na lang sa asim ng sikmura. (As your president, I have no right to get angry. I’ll just keep my anger to myself.),” he said during his visit in Guiuan, Eastern Samar.
Aquino said there should already be initiatives by local governments in knowing what is needed by their constituents. “Sa totoo lang, sana lahat mabilis makausap. Maliwanag ang sinasabi. Hindi na magdadaldalan. Lahat kumikilos. (I wish it was easy to communicate with the LGUs. Everyone should be moving),” he said.
The President lauded the local government of Guiuan, whom he said were able to work faster even before the onslaught of one of the world’s worst typhoons as he assured them that aid will reach them much faster.
He said the preparation of Guiuan helped in bringing down the number of casualties. “It is our target to bring this down further,” he said.
“Kung sino ang handa, siya ang unang makakakuha…Sa iba, habang hindi pa alam, di rin namin alam kung ano ang ipapadala sa inyo (We can help those who already know what they need),” he added, adding that more help are coming as the delivery of relief goods have become easier.
According to the President, he will stay “between Leyte and Samar” until he is assured that they can already rise on their own.
Coco levy, Malampaya funds
Aquino added that cash-for-work and food-for-work programs are already being implemented.
He also said there is a plan to tap into the coco levy funds to help in the rehabilitation of the Visayas region, noting that the Department of Agriculture is already preparing the implementation.
As for the power situation, Aquino said there will be a “bleak Christmas” with December 31 as the most likely target to install or bring back power into the toppled transmission lines.
“We can install the transmission lines, but we have to make sure that the cost will not be passed on to consumers already affected by the disaster,” he said.
Aquino said he is also willing to look into the Malampaya funds for financing but the government has to make sure that all laws are followed.
Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla earlier said he wants to use the Malampaya funds to be able to stabilize the power supply in the disaster-torn Visayas, adding that believes that Aquino will agree to the plan, especially with Visayas facing a dark Christmas after distribution and transmission lines have been heavily damaged.
The Malampaya fund has become a point of contention the past few months after whistleblowers revealed portions have been used for ghost projects. The Supreme Court has already stopped the release of the funds, except for energy projects.
“Suwerte nyo, maipapangako ko na mas mapapabilis ang inyong pagbangon,” Aquino told the people of Guiuan.
The President is also set to go to Tacloban, one of the most heavily damaged by the super typhoon. Politics was earlier blamed for the slow relief efforts in the area.