President Aquino shaking hands with IDPs during bunkhouse inspection at Zambo Grandstand pic.twitter.com/wgs6o0Refy— zambocitygovt (@zambocitygovt) December 22, 2013
MANILA, Philippines – Three days before Christmas, President Benigno Aquino III made the rounds on areas that were previously stricken by disaster and conflict, checking on the progress of rehabilitation programs.
Aquino first visited Compostela Valley, where he inspected the housing units for people who were displaced by Typhoon Pablo (Bopha) last December 2012.
“Sa pagbisita ko po sa inyo ngayon, simple lang ang gusto kong maipaabot: Hindi kayo nakakalimutan ng inyong gobyerno. Habang sabay-sabay nating hinaharap ang mga panibagong problema ng sambayanan, patuloy tayong nagsusumikap para tugunan ang inyong mga pangangailangan,” Aquino said in a speech delivered in Compostela Valley.
(As I visit you today, the message I want to impart is simple: Your government has not forgotten you. As we simultaneously face the new problems of society, we will continue to strive to address your needs.)
He then proceeded to Zamboanga City, the site of a three-week standoff between government forces and a breakaway group of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), to check up on recovery and reconstruction efforts there.
Aquino and his party, which included Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman, arrived in the city around noon, and immediately proceeded to a briefing with local officials on the city’s road map for recovery.
The briefing was led by Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson and Zamboanga City Mayor Isabelle Climaco.
He proceeded to the Don Joaquin Enriquez Sports Complex to visit internally displaced persons, after which he will inspect bunk houses recently turned over to evacuees.
After Zamboanga, he is expected to proceed to Tacloban City and Palo, Leyte, where he will also inspect bunkhouses for the survivors of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).
He will be joined by Leyte Governor Dominic Petilla, Presidential Assistant on Rehabilitation and Recovery Panfilo Lacson, and Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez.
This will be the President’s third trip to Tacloban after the devastating November 8 disaster. – With reports from Richard Falcatan/Rappler.com