Martin says Mar did best during, after ‘Yolanda’
Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez acknowledged the “heroic role” played by Liberal Party standard bearer Mar Roxas in government efforts to prepare for the onslaught of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” and provide immediate aid in its aftermath.
Romualdez said he hoped to end the long-standing enmity between Roxas and his cousin, Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez, which Martin said has unnecessarily affected rehabilitation efforts in the Eastern Visayas urban center.
“Let’s not inject politics anymore and stop the blame game by moving forward, and continue the rebuilding programs in ‘Yolanda’-hit areas. After all, politics simply has no place in the face of tragedy of such magnitude,” said Romualdez in an interview with reporters.
Romualdez said there was no need to question the role played by Roxas in alleviating the impact of the tragedy two years ago because Roxas and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin were on ground zero before and after one of history’s biggest storms struck.
“We coordinated. In fact, Secretary Roxas was billeted at the Leyte Park Hotel, one of the structures heavily damaged at the height of the onslaught of the supertyphoon, and stayed in ‘Yolanda’-hit areas to help return normalcy,” Romualdez said.
“We appreciated that very much, and we thank the national leadership including the President for all the help given to us,” Romualdez said.
Roxas has been lambasted for mismanaging both disaster preparations and relief-and-rehabilitation efforts, but Romualdez said that these sweeping criticisms were undeserved.
“He (Roxas) did his honest best and risked his life to warn the people, but he and Secretary Gazmin were victims, too. Everyone, including them, was overcome by ‘Yolanda.’ No one expected the magnitude of the disaster that struck Eastern Visayas, and no one could have prepared for a disaster like that. The city (Tacloban) was unrecognizable after a huge storm surge washed away houses,” said Romualdez.
Romualdez said the best course for the country was to learn from “Yolanda’s” lessons and create a separate department to focus solely on disaster relief and preparations considering the country’s increasing vulnerability to extreme weather disturbances.
Part of his platform as a senatorial candidate is to create the Department of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management or DDPEM.
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