President losing sleep over 'Pablo' devastation

By Jing Castañeda, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 06 2012 05:40 PM | Updated as of Dec 07 2012 01:40 AM

MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III admitted Thursday that he is losing sleep thinking about the devastation wrought by Typhoon Pablo over Mindanao.

In his speech during the awarding ceremony of the Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations (TAYO) in Malacanang, Aquino said he was reflecting till the wee hours of the morning what else the government could have done to prevent the numerous deaths in Mindanao.

"Talagang ang isip natin ay nandoon syempre sa Mindanao lalo na 'yung number 'nung missing. Parang gusto ko hong mag[karoon ng] katiyakan (na) itong ating mga kababayan na missing sana mahanap o sana mailigtas. Napapag-isip na tayo: may nagawa pa ba tayo or may magagawa pa ba tayo para pati 'yung 30 o 60 na 'yon ay naisalba natin?" he asked.

"Ngayon po 'yung tinatayang bilang ng namatay ay lampas 300 na at marami po tayong katanungan na bumabagabag sa atin pong kaisipan mula kagabi hanggang madaling araw kanina dahil gusto ko ho ng tugon. Para sa akin po maski isa ang mamatay ay sobra po."

The President said the government will not stop at looking for new systems and mechanisms to ensure the safety of the public during times of calamities.

He urged the different youth organizations present to extend assistance to the calamity victims, especially during the Christmas season.

Aquino also urged the public to pray for the families of the victims.

"Nakakalungkot pong isipin na may mga kababayan tayong magpa-Pasko hindi sa harap ng mesang puno ng pagkaing pang-Noche Buena kundi sa mga evacuation centers kasama ang ibang pamilyang kailangang lumikas," he said.

The President challenged the youth to continue to work for the betterment of the country and to continue to give hope to the less fortunate. 

"Malinaw din na ang mga bagay na mahalaga-malasakit sa kapwa, paglingap sa mga nangangailangan, pagkukusang tumulong sa ikabubuti ng bayan-ay nakatanim pa rin sa puso ng kabataang Pilipino. Ito ang diwa ng pagtitipon natin ngayong umaga, pinapatunayan ng Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations ngayong taon na handang makipag-bayanihan ang kabataan sa tuwid na daan."

TAYO, which is on its tenth year, aims to recognize the efforts of existing youth organizations nationwide in improving conditions of their commuities and in making a contribution in nation-building.

Some of the awardees include: Angat Kabataan from Rizal Development Communication Society-Benguet State University, CBA-Kalipunan and Marketing Junior Executives of the University of the Cordilleras, Ramon Magsaysay Technological University - Electrical Engineering Society, University of Luzon Students in Free Enterprise, Cebuano Youth Ambassadors, I Can Make a Difference Inc from Zamboanga City, La Salle Debate Society, Monte-Verde 4H Club of Zamboanga City, and many others.