Aquino to ‘Pablo’ survivors: Use spirit of Edsa to rise from calamity
CATEEL, Philippines — A day before the 28th Edsa People Power Anniversary, President Benigno Aquino arrived to this typhoon-devastated town, calling on a crowd of a thousand to use the spirit of Edsa to recover from the calamity.
The President’s visit here Monday noon came a year and two months after Tropical Storm “Pablo” (international name Bopha) hit this town and several others in Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley, killing more than a thousand people.
The President said this town was far different from what it was days after Pablo struck.
“Nagbabalik na ang normalidad (Normalcy is coming back),” he said.
It was, however, the first time the President came here since the typhoon struck. On Dec. 6, 2012, or two days after typhoon “Pablo” made a landfall in Baganga town, the President went to neighboring Boston town.
On Monday, Aquino boasted about government’s efforts to help Cateel and its people recover from the calamity.
Aquino said housing units have been provided to families whose homes were either damaged or destroyed by Pablo.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development said it has built 1,038 shelters in the province, 520 of which were built in this town.
Many in the crowd, however, complained of not receiving help from government. One of them was Nectarina Tinoy, a resident of riverside village San Alfonso here, who claimed that she did not receive housing materials from government.
Tinoy and her four children have been living in a tent-patched house after this was destroyed by typhoon Pablo. Her hut was again destroyed by a flood induced by a low pressure area in January.
“I did not receive anything, not even GI sheets,” she told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Nelia Betana, another resident here, also said she has not received building materials from the government.
“My house was destroyed by Pablo, yet until now I still have not received housing assistance from government,” Betana told the Inquirer.
The President, in his speech, said the government would complete the construction of 1,179 shelter units by August, in time for the death anniversary of his father, former Senator Benigno Aquino.
The President also cited the Department of Agriculture’s move to help farmers plant chili, processing it to dried “Hot Pablo Chili.”
Some farmers, however, said the price of chili has gone down from P50 to P35 as there have been fewer buyers.
From Cateel, the President will fly to Loon in Bohol, then to Cebu and to Eastern Samar.