Palace to netizens: Aquino at ‘DongYan’ wedding but…
MANILA, Philippines—President Aquino was abreast of the situation in provinces hit by Tropical Storm “Seniang” even as he stood as best man in the lavish wedding of movie stars Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera on Tuesday, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said on Wednesday.
“He kept tabs of the latest developments. He’s very hands-on and he receives periodic updates,” said Coloma. Aquino has “given instructions to ensure that the needs of our people are met adequately” in the wake of Monday’s storm, internationally known as Jang-mi.
Coloma said that the President would have “preferred to keep his presence at the wedding low key,” but the fanfare surrounding the biggest stars in the Philippine entertainment industry was beyond him.
“It is their lifelong dream,” Coloma said of the high-profile wedding.
Dingdong and Marian supported Aquino’s bid for the presidency in 2010, but more than this, Coloma said, Dantes was a friend of the Chief Executive even before he became President. Moreover, the President later appointed Dantes to the National Youth Commission.
Aquino’s presence in the wedding disappointed a number of netizens who opined that the Chief Executive should have spent his time monitoring Seniang’s rampage in the provinces of Bohol, Leyte, Cebu, Samar, Negros Oriental and Occidental, Compostela Valley and the Caraga region, among others.
Seniang exacted a toll higher than Typhoon “Ruby” (international name: Hagupit).
Coloma said the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council had informed the Palace that “it was not appropriate to compare Seniang with Ruby.”
Ruby was a “much stronger typhoon and so the preparations and the evacuations for that one was more massive,” Coloma said. “With Seniang, there were weaker winds but there was a lot of rain,” he said.
“Overall, there was adequate preparation and I have been getting updates on regional offices of the Philippine Information Agency and provincial offices. Two nights before Seniang hit, there was already an alert raised. There was readiness but what was not anticipated were the rains and the flash floods in the two barangays (villages),” Coloma said, referring to incidents in Catbalogan, Samar, that killed a number of people.
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