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Aquino to stay in Tacloban until situation is ‘OK’

President Benigno Aquino on Sunday said he will be staying in Tacloban City indefinitely, and that he will remain in the typhoon-hit region until he sees that the situation in Leyte and other devastated areas is "OK".

“Hanggang makuntento tayong OK na ‘yung sitwasyon. Ang gusto natin talagang maibsan ang pinagdadaanan ng lahat sa lalong madaling panahon. Hanggang wala akong makitang maidadagdag ko pa dito, mananatili muna tayo dito,” Aquino said in a briefing at an National Food Authority (NFA) warehouse in Tacloban when asked how long he would be staying in the region.

Aquino added that he was mulling the idea of offering work for food or cash for pay programs to Tacloban residents to speed up clearing operations in the city.

“Ngayon, mag-uusap kami ni Mayor, matanong ko sa kanya, puwede ba nating ma-mobilize 'yung citizens natin for cash for work, or food for work programs para mapabilis ‘yung pagki-clear. Kanina marami tayong nakitang mga waterways na wala pang effort para tanggalin yung debris,” Aquino said.

The president was earlier criticized for the government’s slow response to the victims of the super typhoon, something Aquino is trying to remedy with his presence in the storm-hit areas in Visayas.

“Marami tayong inaasahan after one week eh, hindi ko nakikita. So baka dapat eh [personal kong asikasuhin.] Kaya nandito tayo ngayon, tutok na tutok,” Aquino said.

However Aquino admitted that it might take a while for those affected to return to their normal lives, saying power may take two months or longer to restore.

“Power will take about two months to restore at the earliest possible time. So there is that daily need that has to be met every day. Nabanggit din ni [Energy] Secretary [Jericho] Petilla na mukhang matindi raw ang shortage ng yero,” he said. — Patricia Denise Chiu/BM, GMA News