MANILA, Philippines - Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas shrugged off criticism over his failure to use a helmet while riding a motorcycle when he led officials inspecting areas affected by Typhoon Ruby in Eastern Samar last Monday.
Roxas said in times of disaster, they would go even without helmets or on foot, as long as they could get to Dolores in Eastern Samar to see what help the people there needed.
“Hindi ako nagpapapansin (I’m not trying to get attention),” he added.
He said their group was in a hurry to check the situation of people in Dolores.
Roxas was photographed when he fell from a motorcycle after an inspection of the storm damage in Taft, Samar. Some netizens immediately took to bashing him, while others expressed admiration for his resolve to help those affected by the typhoon.
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. yesterday defended Roxas from criticisms arising from his fall from a motorcycle in Eastern Samar.
“At least he was there, he was there from the beginning,” Belmonte told reporters.
He said Eastern Samar was in an emergency situation then.
Western Samar Rep. Mel Senen Sarmiento said Roxas should even be commended for going out of his way, even to the point of endangering himself, just to make a personal assessment of how the government could best help the areas devastated by the storm.
“The use of motorcycles as a tool in disaster response is an innovation which the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council can adopt, especially in deploying quick reaction units. During disasters, many areas are completely cut off from the rest of the world and could be accessible only with small vehicles like motorbikes,” Sarmiento said. – Cecille Suerte Felipe, Paolo Romero
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