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    Posted December 10, 2013 by
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    Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas today advised Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez to stop distorting facts related to government’s disaster response on Supertyphoon Yolanda, saying the Aquino administration readily provided relief assistance to all local officials affected by the calamity regardless of their political affiliation.
    “I sympathize with him, but my advice to Mayor Romualdez: don’t distort facts, stop rewriting history,” said Roxas, who is vice chair of National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).
    “I do not know if he is trying to politicize the situation or he is just suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. What I am sure of, he is not telling the truth. Politics never played a role in the relief operations after Yolanda,” he added.
    Roxas acknowledged having advised Romualdez to write a letter to President Aquino detailing the condition of the local government unit at the time and the menu of assistance needed by Tacloban from the national government.
    He stressed that the letter, however, was not meant to set a pre-condition for relief assistance from the national government.
    “I requested that letter more than a week after Yolanda struck Tacloban. Even without that letter, the relief assistance kept pouring into Tacloban,” the DILG chief pointed out.
    “All we wanted at the time was to formalize the request from the local government unit. We do not want a situation where the national government would later be accused of taking over Tacloban because the President is an Aquino and the mayor is a Romualdez,” Roxas explained.
    He described as unfair the insinuation made by Romualdez before the Joint Congressional Committee that the national government failed to provide immediate relief to Tacloban just because the mayor is a member of a rival clan.
    “This is politics at its worst. It is unfair for the thousands of men and women who were mobilized by the national government to come to the aid of Tacloban,” Roxas said.
    Roxas also noted that Romualdez could just be parrying accusation that his failure to order forced evacuation of residents before the typhoon struck led to the loss of thousands of lives in Tacloban City.
    “Malinaw na gusto ring ipagtanggol ni Mayor Romualdez ang kanyang sarili sa akusasyon na kulang ang kanyang preparasyon kaya maraming namatay sa Tacloban,” he said.
    “Sa halip na atakihin ang gobyerno, mas mabuti sigurong ipaliwanag niya nang mabuti kung bakit nandoon siya sa beach resort nang dumating ang bagyo. Paano lilikas ang mga kababayan niya kung alam nila na binabale-wala lang ng mayor nila ang lakas ng bagyo?” he added.
    The DILG chief noted that Romualdez may find himself liable for perjury should the Joint Congressional Committee discover that he distorted facts or uttered fallacious statements when he testified before the panel.
    “We are ready with the facts, with the recording and minutes of our meetings. We will present all of these if needed so we know who is telling the truth and who is lying,” Roxas said.

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