PNoy to spend bday in quake-stricken Visayas

Paterno Esmaquel II
This is in contrast to what critics said was his delayed visit to areas that Tropical Storm Sendong devastated last year

52ND BIRTHDAY. President Benigno Aquino III will spend his birthday on Wednesday, February 8, in earthquake-stricken Dumaguete City. File photo courtesy of Malacañang/PCOO.

MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III will spend his birthday on Wednesday, February 8, in one of the areas hardest hit by the magnitude-6.9 earthquake in the Visayas region.

He will be 52.

In a statement, presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said Aquino will inspect damaged areas in Dumaguete City, and meet with affected residents and relief workers there, “in keeping with the values of servant leadership espoused by his family.”

Aquino has been monitoring the situation since the earthquake struck on Tuesday, February 6, according to Lacierda.

Updating the public on government efforts, Lacierda said the East Mindanao Command has sent 2 helicopters to the area; West Mindanao Command has sent 2; and the Philippine Coast Guard has dispatched one helicopter and one islander aircraft, as well as 2 Coast Guard vessels.

So far, relief efforts are under way but are hampered by aftershocks in earthquake-stricken areas. 

In past disasters, Aquino was criticized for his delayed visits to affected areas such as those inundated by Sendong in December 2011. The President even got a beating online when actress Valerie Concepcion confirmed she was with the President in a party a day after Sendong pummeled Cagayan de Oro and neighboring provinces. – Rappler.com

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Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.