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"Bahala na si Lord sa inyo, busy ako."
This was the strong message of President Benigno Aquino III to his critics, whom he repeatedly blasted during his speech before the Filipino community in Tokyo, Japan on Thursday.
"'Yung mga kritiko ho natin may industriya na ho sa Pilipinas... na sa totoo lang ho… hindi ba ang dali naman sumulat ka sa papel, banat ka.
"Talagang kami ho tuksong-tukso [na sabihin] kayo nga kaya pumunta dito at subukan niyo magagawa niyo, di ba? Problema ho ni ayaw tumakbo," Aquino said.
The Aquino administration has been under fire for its handling of the Yolanda relief efforts. Before this, it has also been criticized over the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program.
But the President said the criticisms are sometimes absurd and uncalled for, citing the time when he was accused of falsely stating that he slept in a tent during his visit to quake-hit Bohol.
As to how he was doing in the face of so many criticisms, he said: "Sa totoo lang ho, feel na feel ko po talagang isang malaking karangalan na mamuno ng isang sambayanan na maraming pagsubok na dinaanan, nadadapa, bangon, at palaban pa rin."
He likewise said he voluntarily accepted the post so he can't give up.
"Bilang pinuno, hindi tayo pwedeng bumigay, hindi tayo pwedeng mawalan ng pag-asa maski na napipikon ka na dun sa ibang taong namumulitika pa," he said.
In his speech, Aquino recounted the problems the Philippines encountered in the past year, including both natural and man-made calamities.
But he appeased the Filipino community by saying that the government is doing its job of protecting their loved ones in the Philippines and encouraged them to continue helping in their own way.
"Nagtungo rin po tayo rito, upang mapanatag ang inyo pong kalooban—habang kumakayod kayong mga boss natin sa ibayong dagat, todo-kayod din ang inyong pamahalaan upang mapagsilbihan ang mga boss natin sa Pilipinas," he said.
"Sa paniniwala natin hindi tayo bibigyan ng Diyos na hindi natin kaya," he added.
During the same event, the Filipino community in Tokyo handed Aquino a symbolic check for Y1 million or around P426,007 for Yolanda victims.
According to Philippine Ambassador to Japan Manuel Lopez, the donation came from the profits of the Philippine Barrio Fiesta Festival held last September in Yokohama which attracted more than 100,000 visitors.
“Hindi lamang po mahusay ang mga Filipino sa Japan, sila rin po ay may gintong puso at tunay na nagmamalasakit sa kapwa,” Lopez said in a separate statement released by the Palace on Friday.
Aside from this donation, Lopez said the collections during the mass for the traditional Simbang Gabi at Meguro Catholic Church, which will be organized by the Philippine embassy with the support of the Filipino community, will also be donated to the Yolanda victims through the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
Thursday's meeting with the Filipino community was Aquino's first activity upon arriving in Japan, where he will attend the ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit. — Kimberly Jane Tan/RSJ, GMA News