Aquino skips Tacloban, hits critics of 'Yolanda' rebuilding efforts
Louis Bacani (The Philippine Star) - November 7, 2014 - 1:16pm

MANILA, Philippines - Marking the first anniversary of Yolanda's devastation, President Benigno Aquino III on Friday took a swipe at those who continue to criticize the government's rehabilitation efforts.

Instead of Tacloban City, Aquino went to Guiuan, Eastern Samar this morning but he assured that the government is not ignoring any area affected by the powerful typhoon.

"Ang ating bawat hakbang, kailangang pinag-aaralan, pinagplaplanuhan at pinaghahandaan. Pero sa kabila ng mga inisyatiba nating ito, malakas ang kutob ko, bukas na bukas po, meron pa ring hihirit, pinapabayaan ko raw ang Tacloban," Aquino said at the turnover of temporary shelters to typhoon victims.

"Kayo na ang bahalang kumilala kung sino ang mga magsasabi niyan," he added.

Aquino also chided critics who are only looking for quick fixes and not long-term solutions that would prevent massive devastation in the future.

He rejected the idea of just giving monetary assistance to typhoon victims, saying it would not sustain the needs of the typhoon survivors.

"Tama bang magpapogi na lang ako, abutan na lang natin lahat ng pamilya... heto cash bahala na kayo sa buhay niyo?" he asked.

Aquino said he would rather get criticized for doing what he thinks is right for the typhoon victims.

"Pagdating ng bagyo... napinsala na naman kayo pero pwede namang iwasan, hindi ko mahaharap ang sarili ko. Hindi ko mahaharap ang mga magulang ko. Kaya dito na, sige, murahin niyo na ako, batikusin niyo na ako. Pero palagay ko dapat, ang gawain natin ay 'yung tama," Aquino also said.

The President's remarks were a response to criticisms that the government's assistance to typhoon survivors was not enough.

In his speech, Aquino stressed the difficulty of feeding 1.4 million displaced families every day.

Earlier, Aquino inspected a market place and a public school in Guiuan to assess the area's recovery.

Considered as the strongest typhoon to hit land in 2013, Yolanda devastated Eastern Visayas, with Guiuan and Tacloban City among the most affected areas.

With its record winds that spawned tsunami-like storm surges, Yolanda flattened entire communities and left thousands homeless.

More than 6,300 were killed, about 1,000 went missing while thousands more were injured due to the typhoon.

Aquino won't be visiting Tacloban City due to his tight schedule, according to reports. He will be leaving for China to attend the the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders' Meeting on November 9.

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