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Malacañang on Monday denied that they, led by President Benigno Aquino III, were blaming anyone for the extent of the damage caused by Typhoon Yolanda.
"I don’t think that is an accurate description. Hindi po kami nanunuro, wala po kaming sinisisi," Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras said during a press briefing.
"Hindi ngayon ang panahon para magsisihan. Hindi ngayon ang panahon para mag-bangayan po," he added.
He issued the statement after Aquino was quoted in previous as saying that it seems Tacloban was unprepared for Yolanda.
On Monday, Almendras clarified that they only want to emphasize the importance of coordination between the local and national governments.
"Ang sinasabi ko lang po ay napaka-importante na meron po kaming katuwang, meron pong makakasabi sa amin kung saan dapat dalhin yung tulong po," he said.
"Hirap na hirap po ang national government to penetrate the locality. Hindi po namin kilala ang mga barangay captain—ni hindi ko alam ang mga pangalan ng mga barangay, much more their location, much more nasaan sila," he added.
The Palace official added that if there is something they learned from Typhoon Pablo, it's that it's easier to extend help to the victims if the local and national governments are coordinated.
"Hindi naman po tayo pwedeng magpalipad ng helicopter o magpatakbo ng truck na may goods na sige, tsambahan na lang natin pag may nadaanan tayo, hindi po ba?" he said.
"Mas mabuti po na alam natin kung ilang tao ang nandito sa lugar na ito, therefore, alam natin kung gaano karaming relief goods ang ipapadala natin doon. Kaya importante sa atin na yung local knowledge na yun, yung local information na yun is available para po makagalaw tayo," he added.
Situation in Tacloban
Almendras, meanwhile, said they still have a lot things they need to do in Tacloban City in Leyte province, one of the hardest hit by Yolanda. One of the major problems, he said, is how to get there.
But he said that the San Juanico Bridge has already been opened while Tacloban airport has also opened limited operations for commercial flights from the province to Cebu. He also said Transportation Sec. Jun Abaya is arranging bus trips from Tacloban to Manila.
Another problem, he said, is Tacloban needs relief goods, especially water.
"They need water and I am grateful ang dami pong nagbigay ng bottled water. I saw lots of them in the airport pero, as they land, ubos because people were needing. So kailangan po nila ng relief goods, kailangan ng tubig, kailangan ng medical facilities and medicines," he said.
He said Health Sec. Enrique Ona and his team a brought additional medicines to the province.
Aside from this, he said they are also working on restoring the gasoline supply in the area, along with electricity using generators loaned by the Commission on Elections.
"Meron na pong cell signal sa Tacloban—meron nang Smart, meron nang Globe. Ang problema ng mga tao walang charge yung mga cellphones nila, so we need generators," he said.
Almendras said other areas are "more fortunate" because the prepositioned resources reached them right away.
"We are moving to augment whatever resources that they need there," he said, adding that there is "more than enough rice [supply] in all of the affected [areas]."
"If I remember correctly, there are 3,000,000 sacks of rice in the affected areas and we computed there is enough rice. Kaya nga si Secretary Dinky in Tacloban City ang ginawa niya [she] went into the NFA warehouse and repacked the rice so that it can be distributed," he said.
He likewise said "clearing is ongoing" so that the goods can move into the mostly affected areas.
"What I know is that, as usual, the President is very particular about what do we do moving forward," he said. — RSJ, GMA News