Two Samar solons want Roxas to continue to lead rescue, relief and rehab operations in Yolanda-hit areas in Central and Eastern Visayas

November 21, 2013

Two lawmakers from Eastern Visayas yesterday urged Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas III to stay and continue with his task of leading inter-agency efforts for the relief and rescue operations, including rehabilitation of typhoon-devastated areas in Central and Eastern Visayas.

          Rep. Senen Mel Sarmiento (1st District) of Samar and Rep. Ben Evardone of lone District of Eastern Samar, said President Aquino has the full trust and confidence on the DILG chief to attend to all concerns of all areas devastated by Yolanda.

          “DILG Secretary Mar Roxas and DND Secretary Volts Gazmin were the first government officials tasked by the President to supervise and oversee the government response to super typhoon Yolanda before it hit the country last November 8,” Sarmiento said.

          “This means that the President trusts, and acknowledges the capacity and capability of the DILG chief in leading government efforts to address the problems in the aftermath of Yolanda,” he added.

          For his part, Evardone said he saw for himself the sincerity, willingness and capability of the DILG chief in leading inter-agency efforts to address the problems on local peace and order, bringing in of food and other relief goods to survivors and the retrieval, possible identification and disposition of dead bodies in the devastated areas.

          “Our DILG Secretary had been in Tacloban City a day before Yolanda hit the country. Up to now, he’s still there and has not taken a respite from the job asked of him by President Aquino,” Evardone said.

          “As long as the President wants Secretary Roxas there, it means he is needed there to address the problems of people affected by Yolanda. It would be tantamount to insubordination or abandoning his post if he leaves the place without the President’s approval,” he added. 

          Sarmiento and Evardone issued their respective statements in support of Roxas who, despite the sacrifices he has made and doing the best he can to address the problems created by “Yolanda,” is being thrown unfounded and baseless intrigues about his presence in Tacloban City.

          “Some people maybe after Secretary Roxas because he is doing a good job  addressing  problems created by Yolanda, from restoring peace and order, the immediate distribution of food and relief goods to the survivors, and recovery of, possible identification and disposal of dead bodies,” Evardone explained.

          Sarmiento said some quarters, are even injecting and playing up unnecessary issues against the DILG chief such as politicking and favoritism in the government’s search and rescue efforts, distribution of relief goods, among others. 

          “In these times of crisis, we should all work as one, have a ‘bayanihan’ spirit to help each other and must not engage in mudslinging and sowing of intrigues. Those who do otherwise are really the ones engaged in politicking, scared or envious of what Secretary Roxas has been doing for the people affected by the typhoon,” he said.

          Sarmiento admitted that there had been some minor problems created during the snafu created a day after ‘Yolanda’ in Tocaloban City because of the emergency situation  - the reported rampant looting in the city.  

          “Local officials and some businessmen from the city asked for the imposition of Martial Law. It was rejected. Instead a curfew was imposed and implemented by the PNP on Roxas’s orders. Now, they are blaming him for what he did,” he said.  

          Sarmiento said what transpired in Tacloban City could be considered as ‘water under the bridge,’ adding that minor misunderstanding does not merit  magnification in times of calamities.

         “And as we can see now, despite the first few minor glitches encountered by the government, food and other relief goods from local and foreign sources are smoothly coming in and distributed to the survivors. And local and foreign doctors, together with medicines they have brought in, are now attending to the victims of the typhoon. (rae)