MANILA, Philippines – It was an unusual Christmas celebration for the standard-bearer of the ruling Liberal Party (LP), who flew to disaster-hit Oriental Mindoro on December 24, Thursday.
Dindo Melaya, a local of Pinamalayan town, told Rappler that Roxas visited some areas devastated by Typhoon Nona (Melor) and had dinner with some evacuees at the municipal gymnasium, before joining Misa de Aguinaldo nearby.
Roxas was joined by his wife, broadcaster Korina Sanchez and son, Paolo.
Pinamalayan is where Nona made landfall more than a week ago. Roughly 50% of homes in the town were damaged by Nona, Melaya told Rappler. His own home wasn’t spared from Nona’s wrath.
Roxas’ visit comes a day after President Benigno Aquino III dropped by the town to check on the situation in the province – a visit, Melaya said, that left some typhoon evacuees disappointed because they were unable to go near the President.
After attending mass and taking photos with mass-goers, Roxas left for Calapan with LP allies Oriental Mindoro Governor Alfonso Umali, Jr and Oriental Mindoro 2nd District Representative Reynaldo Umali.
Roxas, who usually spends the Christmas break with relatives overseas, hinted at the Mindoro trip in a chance interview with reporters earlier this week.
“Malalaman na lang ninyo (You’ll find out), but I intend to be with our people on Christmas,” said Roxas when asked whether he would work or rest during the Christmas break.
The LP standard-bearer avoided talking about politics in recent trips out-of-town, particularly in Bulacan where he joined local politicians in relief efforts.
Just this week, at least 3 polling firms released the results of their presidential preference surveys. The different polls saw Roxas either take a dip or enjoy incremental increases in his numbers. (READ: Roxas suffers first survey dip post-endorsement)
In separate statements, Roxas and spokespersons of the LP-led “Daang Matuwid” coalition downplayed the survey results, saying the “most important survey” would be the one held on election day on May 9, 2016.
Roxas ranks either 3rd or 4th in recent surveys, which saw presidential aspirant Vice President Jejomar Binay bounce back after a still-to-be-resolved corruption scandal. – Bea Cupin/Rappler.com
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