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Aquino apologizes for slow 'Yolanda' response

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Over four months after "Yolanda" slammed into the country, President Benigno Aquino III personally apologized to some students for the highly criticized government response efforts in the aftermath of the super typhoon.

"I apologize if we could not act even faster," Aquino said on Thursday in an open forum with students of the Hope Christian High School in Manila.

The President was prompted to issue the apology when he was asked by students originally from Tacloban City in Leyte regarding the government's response to the areas devastated by the disaster.

Admitting that help for the typhoon victims came later than expected, Aquino explained that what the government had during the preparations for previous disasters "were not present" when Yolanda hit Eastern Visayas.

But the President also assured that the government tried to do its best to help the typhoon victims.

"In anything else we are also students. We want to learn from this experience and do even better next time," Aquino said during the forum that was shown in television reports.

On November 8, Yolanda barreled through the central Philippines and wrought havoc with its powerful winds that generated tsunami-like storm surges.

In Tacloban City, the most devastated area, entire communities were flattened by the seawaters that were pushed inland by Yolanda, now considered as among the strongest cyclones to be recorded.

According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, Yolanda left more than 6,200 fatalities while over 1,000 people remain missing. Until today, bodies are being found in the typhoon-hit areas.

Millions of people were affected and displaced by the disaster. Aquino told the students that he has already ordered authorities to speed up the building of shelters and houses for the typhoon victims. - Louis Bacani

AQUINO

BUT THE PRESIDENT

EASTERN VISAYAS

HOPE CHRISTIAN HIGH SCHOOL

IN TACLOBAN CITY

LOUIS BACANI

NATIONAL DISASTER RISK REDUCTION AND MANAGEMENT COUNCIL

ON NOVEMBER

PRESIDENT BENIGNO AQUINO

YOLANDA

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