Roxas evades questions on Yolanda aid
ILOILO CITY, Philippines—Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II refused answering questions on problems in the distribution of government assistance to survivors of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” even as he wooed the support of municipal mayors in the Visayas for his presidential bid.
Sought for his opinion on problems with the Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA), Roxas replied to a reporter of television network ABS-CBN: “Well, whose agency is suppose to…”
When the reporter replied that it was under the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Roxas then raised his hands palms up and said: “What is my agency?”
He then thanked about seven reporters in the ambush interview before leaving the room.
Roxas was smiling but refused to entertain further questions. His allies later said he was in a hurry to proceed to Bacolod City, Negros Occidental.
Reporters, who were expecting to ask more questions from Roxas, were surprised by the sudden end of the interview which ended in 17 seconds.
Just minutes earlier, Roxas spent time pressing flesh and having his picture taken with about 250 mayors from the Visayas who attended the Visayas cluster conference of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) at the Kalantiao Hall of Sarabia Manor Hotel.
In his speech during his keynote speech, Roxas said President Benigno Aquino III will be accepting his resignation from the cabinet “in the next few weeks.”
The President earlier rejected his resignation citing unfinished programs in his department.
Roxas also stressed the importance of local government units as he also sought their support for his presidential bid in next year’s elections.
He individually mentioned officers of the LMP and his allies.
A native of Capiz province, Roxas spoke alternately in English, Filipino and Hiligaynon and repeatedly welcomed delegates to Iloilo.
Near the end of his speech, Roxas directly asked the mayors to support his presidential bid.
“Samahan niyo ako at ibibigay ko sa inyo…isang pangulo na taga Visayas (Join me and I will give you a president from the Visayas,” Roxas said.
He stressed the importance of local government units in the implementation of national programs and policies.
The national government will not be successful if “local government units are not successful,” he said.
Liberal Party leaders were also president including Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor, Iloilo Rep. Jerry Treñas and Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog.
The conference also became a venue for more exposure for politicians expected to run in in next year’s elections.
Among the speakers were Senators Francis “Chiz” Escudero and Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., former Energy secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla and Metro Manila Development Authority chair Francis Tolentino.
Mark Lapid, chief operating officer of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority, and former Pangasinan representative Rachel Arenas also spoke before the conference. Nestor Burgos Jr., Inquirer Visayas, TVJ
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