No word yet on how Aquino will mark ‘Yolanda’ anniversary
How President Benigno Aquino III will commemorate the second anniversary of the most devastating storm to hit the Philippines is yet to be known.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said on Friday she still had to check the President’s schedule for Nov. 8, the anniversary of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan), which killed more than 6,000 people.
Mr. Aquino was widely criticized last year for skipping Tacloban City in Leyte province, worst hit by Yolanda.
Instead, he went to Guiuan, Eastern Samar province, where he praised its mayor for the town’s impressive rehabilitation efforts.
Asked if Mr. Aquino still wanted to know the final death toll from Yolanda, Valte said: “Of course, the President is interested.”
“However, there are processes that we have to follow. I did check the last report of the NDRRMC (National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council). There is such a thing called the management of the dead and the missing,” Valte said.
She explained that when deaths were reported, they still had to be validated by the NDRRMC and the Department of Health.
“It is not enough that we see a body because by the sheer magnitude (of Yolanda) and in any calamity, we have to make sure that the body is identified and we have DNA testing for that,” she said.
It is only after proper identification of a body that it is included on the official list of fatalities, she said.
Over a thousand people remain missing in the aftermath of Yolanda. Valte said they also could not just be included on the list of dead.
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