Mar unfazed by criticism of Yolanda comics
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - March 29, 2016 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Liberal Party (LP) presidential candidate Manuel Roxas II is unfazed by the backlash stirred by the comic book that portrays him as a hero at the height of Super Typhoon Yolanda amid criticism that he displayed weak leadership during the disaster.

Roxas thanked his supporters behind the production and distribution of the comics.

The comic book titled “Sa Gitna ng Unos“ (In the middle of a storm) depicts Roxas as an action man who faced risks while Yolanda was ravaging the Visayas. He is portrayed as a public servant ready to sacrifice his personal ambitions for the sake of the country.

While critics are questioning the truthfulness of the comics, Roxas regarded it as an explanation of the events that transpired while the typhoon was wreaking havoc in some parts of the country.

“I thank our supporters for creating the comics and for shedding light on the events during that time. Comics is part of our culture and is part of a regular or conventional campaign,” Roxas told reporters in Quezon province yesterday.

Roxas believes supporters of his rivals are ganging up on the comic book because it is an effective medium.

Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman also defended Roxas.

“I don’t understand why media is saying that he was not there, that he did not do anything. He was there. He was presiding over the meetings every day,” she said.

Soliman also noted that for 15 days, Roxas and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin were in Tacloban City.

“I am a witness to the people who claim to have sympathy for the Yolanda victims but they did not sleep there (Tacloban City). They came five or six days after the typhoon and they arrived on their airplanes and left. They did not even stay overnight,” she added.

President Aquino has been leading the campaign for Roxas and vice presidential candidate Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo, as well as the rest of the Koalisyon ng Daang Matuwid slate of the ruling Liberal Party.

Aquino has emphasized anew the importance of making a decision this coming May elections even if, like him, they might get torn in choosing among friends who are running.

The President also hit Roxas’ rivals in his speech on Monday evening at the Plaza Miranda in Quiapo, Manila where he endorsed LP member Alfredo Lim for Manila mayor and first District Rep. Benjamin Asilo for vice mayor.

Roxas to woo Muslim voters

Roxas also said he would bring his campaign to Mindanao in a bid to woo Muslim voters, whom he said often fall victim to empty promises of previous leaders.

On Monday, Roxas visited the Grand Mosque in Quiapo, Manila, apparently the first time that a presidential candidate visited the area in recent elections amid dissatisfaction in many sectors in Mindanao over Congress’ failure to pass the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law.

Roxas said his visit underscored the importance of Mindanao in his program of government.

“We continue to strive for peace in Mindanao. We’ve been hearing about the promise of Mindanao for many decades but that has not been fulfilled because of strife, conflict and bombings, and progress won’t happen. No investments, no tourism can come if that situation continues,” Roxas addressed members of the Muslim community.

This week, Roxas is scheduled to conduct sorties in North and South Cotabato and General Santos City, as well as  Zamboanga City, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

He said the last five years was evidence of how important the progress of Mindanao is under the Aquino administration, with P260 billion worth of infrastructure projects poured into the region compared to only P125 billion spent from 1998 to 2010 by previous governments.

He noted that on a per capita basis, Mindanao also leads in infrastructure projects.

Roxas said while the option of federalism espoused by presidential candidate and Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to boost Mindanao’s development may have its advantages, it may not be a lasting solution to address the region’s woes.

Leni gets more support

Meanwhile, Robredo continued to rack up endorsements from local officials, the latest from Bukidnon Gov. Jose Ma. Zubiri. 

Zubiri made the endorsement during the provincial women’s summit, where Robredo was guest of honor and speaker, at the Kaamulan Open Theater in Malaybalay, Bukidnon.   – With  Paolo Romero, Rainier Allan Ronda

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