No politics in relief ops - Palace
MANILA - Malacañang denied allegations that it has been "selective" and has given "special treatment" in providing relief aid to Batanes over other areas affected by the recent weather disturbance just because an ally, the Abads, hail from the province.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the allegation has no basis and said that it was not the first time that a C-130 was used to ferry relief goods.
"Unfounded. This is not the first time that the C-130 has been used to fly relief goods and, also, consider the situation in Batanes: Wala hong ibang paraan pumunta ng Batanes, dalawa lang, by air or by water. At that time, the boats could not travel, for obvious reasons, signal no. 4 ang tumama sa Batanes. That's why hindi nga ho agad nakapagpadala ng relief sa Batanes, the day after pa, dahil hindi ho makapaglayag 'yung barko; hindi rin makalipad," Valte said.
"So 'yung C-130 na ho 'yung pinaka-paraan para makapagpadala ng relief doon sa Batanes. So… I would say at this point that those suppositions are unfounded in fact."
Valte also emphasized that relief workers and first responders have been deployed to other areas affected by the monsoon rains, including Subic.
"Sa lahat ng lugar na nasalanta ng bagyo, ng habagat sa bansang ito, tumugon po kami at tinulungan ho natin, at hindi ho tayo nag-aatubili dahil wala ho kaming pulitika. Pagdating ho sa mga ganitong sitwasyon, hindi ho namin ito sinasamahan ng pulitika. Hindi lang ho namin alam kung 'yung ibang tao ganoon din ang layunin. Pero kami ang layunin ho namin ay tumulong doon sa mga nasalanta," she said.
The Palace took issue against a columnist's bringing up the pork barrel allocation for Batanes Rep. Dina Abad, pointing out that details of the use of her PDAF could be found in the website of the Department of Budget and Management.
"You know, that's misdirection," Valte said.
"If he had bothered to really check the records, you would see where the PDAF of Congresswoman Abad went... She put the PDAF-in financial assistance for implementation of scholarship programs for students from Batanes in 81 schools all over the country. The rest of it is here."