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Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez

Roxas advised Romualdez: stop distorting facts

Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez
Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – “I sympathize with him, but my advice to Mayor Romualdez: don’t distort facts, stop rewriting history,” said Mar Roxas, Secretary of Department of Interior and Local Government.

This was the reaction of Roxas, who is also vice chair of National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), in relation to alleged “politicking” of the Aquino administration in providing calamity assistance to a Romualdez-headed city of Tacloban.

According to Roxas, the PH government readily provided relief assistance to all local officials affected by the calamity regardless of their political affiliation.

“I do not know if he is trying to politicize the situation or he is just suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. What I am sure of, he is not telling the truth. Politics never played a role in the relief operations after Yolanda,” he added.

Roxas acknowledged having advised Romualdez to write a letter to President Aquino detailing the condition of the local government unit at the time and the menu of assistance needed by Tacloban from the national government.

He stressed that the letter, however, was not meant to set a pre-condition for relief assistance from the national government.

“I requested that letter more than a week after Yolanda struck Tacloban. Even without that letter, the relief assistance kept pouring into Tacloban,” the DILG chief pointed out.

“All we wanted at the time was to formalize the request from the local government unit. We do not want a situation where the national government would later be accused of taking over Tacloban because the President is an Aquino and the mayor is a Romualdez,” Roxas explained.

He described as unfair the insinuation made by Romualdez before the Joint Congressional Committee that the national government failed to provide immediate relief to Tacloban just because the mayor is a member of a rival clan.

“This is politics at its worst. It is unfair for the thousands of men and women who were mobilized by the national government to come to the aid of Tacloban,” Roxas said.

“Sa halip na atakihin ang gobyerno, mas mabuti sigurong ipaliwanag niya nang mabuti kung bakit nandoon siya sa beach resort nang dumating ang bagyo. Paano lilikas ang mga kababayan niya kung alam nila na binabale-wala lang ng mayor nila ang lakas ng bagyo?” he added.

“We are ready with the facts, with the recording and minutes of our meetings. We will present all of these if needed so we know who is telling the truth and who is lying,” Roxas said.

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.