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Palace defends Mar on Yolanda response

Aurea Calica - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang yesterday defended administration presidential bet Manuel “Mar” Roxas II against tirades from Vice Jejomar Binay’s camp that the former interior secretary was a failure during Super Typhoon Yolanda in 2013.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said over dzRB they did not want to dignify such statements.

“We don’t want to give them the time of day... I mean, I think it’s better if voters would listen to where they are taking this country and why they should be rightfully elected rather than insulting or trying to bring down their opponent,” Valte said.

She added that they had repeatedly addressed issues concerning the rehabilitation of Yolanda-hit areas involving the whole of government and not just Roxas.

“Now they are bringing it up again and we know (why), because of the elections,” she said.

In his speech during the “Gathering of Friends” in Davao City, President Aquino heaped praises on Roxas and why people should help him.

Aquino said Roxas was not always “about me” and that the latter led efforts to bring back normalcy in disaster-hit areas, including the Zamboanga City siege, the earthquake in Bohol and Cebu, and Typhoon Yolanda, which all occurred in 2013. He stressed Roxas was the first in these areas and the last to leave as he ensured that basic services were restored.

But Rico Quicho, Binay’s spokesman for political affairs, said contrary to Aquino’s pronouncements, “Yolanda has shown to the people the extent, or rather the limits, of Secretary Roxas’ executive capability. He was everywhere and nowhere at the same time.”

He said Roxas should not evade questions on the failure of the administration to improve the lives of the poor and deliver basic services in Yolanda-hit areas.

The Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan or CRRP, consolidated by the office of then Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (PARR) Secretary Panfilo Lacson, has envisioned a P167.9-billion funding requirement to rebuild the affected areas until 2016.

ABIGAIL VALTE

ACIRC

AQUINO

BOHOL AND CEBU

COMPREHENSIVE REHABILITATION AND RECOVERY PLAN

DAVAO CITY

GATHERING OF FRIENDS

PRESIDENT AQUINO

PRESIDENTIAL ASSISTANT

ROXAS

YOLANDA

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