Aquino to stay in Tacloban until satisfied with relief ops
'Until I don't see that I have nothing more to contribute here, I will stay here,' says the President

SECOND VISIT. President Benigno Aquino III returns to Tacloban City, Leyte on Sunday, November 17. Photo by Malacañang Photo Bureau

MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III returned to Tacloban City, Leyte on Sunday, November 17, to oversee relief operations in the province more than a week after the onslaught of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). 

How long will he be staying in the disaster-stricken city? 

There is no definite schedule. Aquino told reporters Sunday he is staying until he is “contented” with aid efforts in the area.

Without mentioning specific details, Aquino said he failed to see some changes he had hoped to witness one week after the onslaught of the killer typhoon. 

‘Yong marami tayong inaasahan after one week ay hindi ko nakikita. So parang dapat e … tutok na tutok. Ulit, ano, hindi lang dito ang problema natin, siyempre kinukumpuni pa natin mga nanggaling ng Pablo, meron pa tayong Zamboanga, meron pa tayong Bohol, meron pa ‘yong Santi, ano. So 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,” he said.

(We didn’t see what we were expecting after a week. We really have to attend to this. And this isn’t our only problem. We are also fixing the problems brought by Pablo, the Zamboanga siege and the Bohol earthquake. So what we want is to alleviate people’s suffering at the soonest possible time. Until I don’t see that I have nothing more to contribute here, I will stay here.) 

Aquino conducted a closed-door meeting with local officials in Leyte upon his arrival. 

Before flying to Tacloban, Aquino first visited the town of Guiuan in Eastern Samar, where Yolanda first made landfall on November 8. 

It was his first time to set foot on Eastern Samar, 9 days after Yolanda left more than 200 people in the province dead

In a separate press conference in Guiuan Sunday, Aquino made some remarks on how some LGUs were more “prepared” than others

Aquino praised the Guiuan local government for their preparedness, saying that the LGU is “easy to work with.” 

Madali kayong katrabaho, puwede nating paghatian ang trabaho,” he said. “Kung sino ang handa, siya ang unang makakakuha [ng tulong].” (You are easy to work with, we can divide the work… The ones ready will get aid first.)

He once again praised Guiuan Mayor Christopher Gonzales during an ambush interview with the media in Tacloban Sunday afternoon. Aquino said Gonzales was “very efficient.” 

It took one week for massive relief operations to reach Guiuan and other affected areas in Eastern Samar. (READ: No food for 4 days in Guiuan Islands)

Meanwhile, Tacloban City, where 3,017 out of the 3,681 people who died due to Yolanda as of Sunday were located, became the first hub for relief operations, until additional logistics hubs were established in Cebu, Ormoc and Guiuan, among others. Yet it took 9 days before aid workers reached all 40 towns

Earlier, Aquino told CNN that local government officials should be on top of disaster response but also stressed that they were “simply overwhelmed.” – Angela Casauay/

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