Amid disaster, Arroyo asks Filipinos to unite, pray

MANILA, Philippines - She's the former President, after all. Amid disaster, Pampanga Rep Gloria Arroyo has a message to Filipinos.

"Time and again, our resolve and strength as a people are being tested. We have been through another calamity. And I deeply commiserate with the Filipino people especially those who have lost their loved ones. Let this be another occasion to show our courage to face all of life's trials," she said in a statement emailed by her spokesperson Elena Bautista-Horn.

"We should unite as a people to help one another. And most importantly, we should not lose our faith in our Almighty that it is through Him that nothing is impossible. God bless us all," she added.

When she was President, Arroyo took it a habit to immediately visit disaster-stricken areas. She was both praised and criticized for it. While some appreciated that she was on top of local situations, others saw it as a move to project for the media.

In contrast, President Benigno Aquino III maintained that it's more productive to monitor and coordinate government operations than visit disaster-stricken areas to personally deliver aid. He is also both praised and criticized for it.

Message to Cabalen, too

Mrs Arroyo has a message to her consituents in Pampanga, too.

"The devastation caused by the rains sends a strong warning to humanity that we are very vulnerable to nature's wrath and its destructive elements. It hurts me more to see my Cabalen in this predicament, much much more than the pains that I'm experiencing right now. I enjoin our beloved Capampangans to show strength and unity in confronting these challenges before us," she said.

Pampanga has been placed under a state of calamity.