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Aquino says ‘inclusiveness’ remains government’s guiding principle in efforts to help typhoon survivors

President Benigno Aquino III (MNS photo)

President Benigno Aquino III (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – President Benigno S. Aquino III on Wednesday said “inclusiveness” will remain as government’s guiding principle in its efforts to help the survivors of super Typhoon “Yolanda” recover from the disaster.

President Aquino witnessed the signing of the memorandum of agreement between the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. and the Provincial Government of Leyte for the construction of 500 houses and five units of barrio schools for the survivors of the typhoon.

During his speech, the President thanked the Chinese-Filipino community for its efforts to help the survivors of Yolanda.

“I assure you that what you are doing on the community level, my government has been doing, and will continue to do so, on a national scale. Inclusiveness remains our guiding principle, as we build a regime of opportunities, and empower those who have lost so much to the tragedies that befell our country in the past year,” he said.

President Aquino said the various disasters that struck the country last year, such as the Zamboanga siege, the Bohol earthquake and Typhoon Yolanda, were “a true test of our capabilities as a nation.”

Typhoon Yolanda has caused extensive damage to infrastructure and left thousands of people dead in the Visayas in November last year.

“The challenge that confronted us was enormous; and it was only through our people’s resilience and solidarity that we overcame it. It was through the commitment and the hard work of those in government who dealt with relief, recovery, and reconstruction; of those from private entities who conducted relief operations either on their own or shoulder-to-shoulder with government; and of those citizens who sacrificed their time in volunteer centers,” he said.

“Now, a different – but no less formidable – challenge lies ahead of us. As we rebuild the communities affected by Typhoon Yolanda, we must do so in a way that can unshackle us from the vicious cycle of destruction and reconstruction. This is precisely why we are building-back-better. Instead of simply rebuilding what was lost, we are building in a way that makes our communities more resilient in the face of disaster; and everyone’s participation makes this a reality,” he added.

President Aquino welcomed the partnership between the FFCCCII Foundation and the Provincial Government of Leyte to construct 500 houses and five units barrio schools for the survivors of the typhoon.

The agreement was signed by Dr. Alfonso Siy for the FFCCCII and Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla for Leyte province on Wednesday in Malacanan Palace. It was witnessed by President Aquino, FFCCCII Chairman Emeritus Dr. Lucio Tan, Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla, DILG Secretary Manuel Roxas II and Palo Mayor Remedios Petilla.

President Aquino, also during his speech, expressed confidence that the houses and the classrooms that will be constructed in Palo, Leyte, will be a boost in the government’s efforts to empower those affected by the typhoon.

“This project of yours comes at the heels of your enormous contributions in the aftermath of Yolanda, where you, your members, and six other organizations distributed more than 50,000 relief packs and provided welding sets, fishing boats, water purifying systems, and medicine, among other resources needed by those who were affected,” the President said.

The Chinese-Filipino community has undertaken various relief and rehabilitation efforts in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda. In total, the Chinese-Filipino community’s donation for typhoon-affected areas is close to P150 million.

“All that you have done serves to underscore the compassion that you hold for your fellow Filipinos: You will never hesitate to step in and assist our countrymen in times of need, whether it is through helping them recover after a major disaster, or helping our Department of Education build classrooms, or funding your own volunteer fire brigades,” the President said. (MNS)

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