MANILA, Feb 20 (Mabuhay) – A Malacañang spokesperson on Thursday downplayed a reported disconnect between typhoon victims and President Benigno Aquino III, saying the President will even spend the anniversary of the 1986 People Power Revolution in calamity-hit areas.
“Is there a disconnect? I don’t think so. I think the actions of the President have shown that he is anything but insensitive,” presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said during a press conference.
Lacierda’s remark came a day after Aquino thumbed down the demand of some Yolanda survivors for the government to grant their families P40,000 each, saying it will not solve their problem in the long run.
Lacierda, however, said the “resolve to help and assist the people on the affected areas remains to be strong.”
In fact, Lacierda said Aquino even decided to spend next week with victims in calamity-stricken areas, including Bohol and Cebu.
The 28th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution on Feb. 25 will be held in Cebu.
“He wants to be one with the people especially those who were affected by the natural calamities…most especially in this time, the EDSA celebration, it shows solidarity with those people who were affected [by the calamity] so this is a good opportunity for the President. He wants to spend time with the people,” he said.
As for criticisms against government’s handling of rehabilitation efforts, the Palace official said everyone is entitled to their opinion.
“There will always be people who will say something negative about government … there will always be people who will not be happy, satisfied with our efforts,” he said.
“But we will not be deterred … our determination will never diminish, will not waver because that is our responsibility. The government’s responsibility is to restore them, to bring them back, to build back better,” he added.
But he said people must remember that rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts will take years.
“Our commitment has always been there. We’ve tackled Typhoon Yolanda day in, day out. The President has already mentioned that Yolanda is a priority for us. [But] this is not going to happen overnight,” he said. (MNS)