PNoy: No electioneering in distribution of aid
BOHOL - President Benigno Aquino III on Thursday dismissed allegations that some barangay officials are using the distribution of relief goods to boost their chances of winning in the upcoming elections.
Speaking to reporters in Tubigon town, Aquino said barangay officials are mandated to attend to the needs of their respective constituents in times of calamities.
"The [Philippine National Police] and [Armed Forces] together will not be able to attend to that. Sino ba ang LGU sa smallest level? Paano natin ipu-pwera kung sila talaga ang naitalaga both by a law and the system in place to attend to the needs of their respective constituents?" Aquino said.
Aquino also assured Boholanos that with the help of the government they will soon recover from the devastation brought by the recent quake.
The issue on politics derailing relief efforts made the news after Philippine Red Cross volunteers accused Maribojoc Mayor Leoncio Evasco of driving them out of the town after they refused to give their relief goods to the local government.
Evasco, for his part, said he was only after the fair distribution of the relief goods since some families were getting more than their share.
Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas has ordered the Philippine National Police to investigate reports that some local officials are hoarding relief goods.
'We'll get through this'
Bohol is the most devastated province in last week's magnitude quake in the Visayas. At least 185 people died in the province.
Aquino appealed to affected families to practice more patience as the local and national government agencies fast-track the release of aid and rehabilitation of major roads and bridges.
He also assured the Boholanos who still fear for their lives that government geologists have guaranteed that there is no immediate danger in the province.
"Isang bayan tayo, isang lahi, magdadamayan. Nakahanda ang gobyerno na ibalik kayo sa dating kaayusan o mas magandang kaayusan pa," Aquino said when asked for his message to the Boholanos.
"Magtulungan tayo dito at malalaktawan natin ang pagsubok na ito," he added.
He also dispelled reports that the government has not been releasing enough aid, saying the number of food packs from the Department of Social Welfare and Development released so far greatly outnumbered the number of affected individuals.
He added that the Department of Public Works and Highways are now working to finish the rebuilding of the province's four major bridges in less than a month's time.
A vacation too
Meanwhile, Aquino also shared that his visit to Bohol somehow turned into a brief vacation for him, noting the beautiful scenery in the province amid the devastation.
"Nakita natin ang potensyal ng turismo sa Bohol. Sa totoo lang, parang nakatikim tayo ng konting bakasyon kagabi dahil sa lamig ng hangin. Talagang preskong-presko," said Aquino, who spent the night inside a military tent in Loon town.
"In spite of all of the damage, ipinapaala sa atin ang potentials that will soon be realized in Bohol."
Aquino is expected to return to Manila today.