mga ilonggo indi nyo pa gid pag kalimtan ni ha, amo ni ang gina obra sang national gov't and agency para sa iloilo...indi na ta mag painto sa sunod nga electionIloilo relief work suspended for GMA
By Jess Diaz
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Politics is rearing its ugly head in relief efforts in Iloilo and other provinces hard-hit by typhoon “Frank,” Iloilo Vice Gov. Rolex Suplico said yesterday.
“The people on the ground cannot move because they have no authority to act fast from President Arroyo, who is in the United States. They are waiting for her to return so she will be the hero,” Suplico told a news forum in Quezon City.
Suplico revealed that last Tuesday, officials of the regional disaster coordinating council (RDCC) who were in the province were not able to distribute rice to typhoon victims because they were awaiting clearance from Malacañang.
He said local officials of Iloilo, including House Majority Leader Arthur Defensor and Rep. Ferjenel Biron, even pleaded with the RDCC officials to distribute the rice, but their appeals fell on deaf ears.
Exasperated, Biron, one of the richest congressmen, ordered his people to buy rice, sardines and noodles using his own money, according to Suplico.
He said Vice President Noli de Castro, whom Mrs. Arroyo has appointed government caretaker while she is absent, flew in on Monday with just a few hundred bags of rice.
“I pity Vice President Noli. He was given the authority to pose for the cameras but not the all-out support to undertake relief operations and distribute relief goods,” Suplico added.
He pointed out that while the vice president “is the one on the ground, his boss in the US still calls the shots as evidenced by the directives she issues via remote videoconferenc
Suplico reported that of the 42 Iloilo towns affected by the typhoon, only 21 have received relief goods such as rice, sardines and noodles from the national government.
“The rest – 21 towns – have yet to see a sack of rice coming from Manila,” he said.
Earlier, Suplico appealed to his former colleagues lawmakers who accompanied President Arroyo to the US trip to return home and help out in the rehabilitation and relief of their districts devastated by typhoon Frank.
He claimed that some of the congressmen were just “gallivanting” with Mrs. Arroyo and asked them to donate part of their travel allowances and shopping money to typhoon victims.
“They get their per diem from the House, plus they get something from the Speaker and the President. They can do a lot of shopping in New York City,” he said.
“If they plan to buy two Louis Vuitton bags or two pairs of Ferragamo shoes, maybe they should just buy one bag or one pair of shoes. One such bag costs P50,000 and another P50,000 for Ferragamo shoes. Each of them can donate at least P100,000 to the victims if they can resist the temptation to buy those luxuries,” he said.
Suplico noted reports that when the same large group of House members accompanied Mrs. Arroyo to Spain in the latter part of 2007, they emptied Madrid shops of jamon Serrano (Spanish ham) and cheese, and that the plane they were riding in was almost overloaded because of their purchases.
There are conflicting reports on the size of the House delegation traveling with Mrs. Arroyo.
Sources revealed to The STAR at least 59 congressmen, two senators and 10 Cabinet members are part of the large presidential entourage.
However, one Mindanao congressman claimed that he counted 78 of his colleagues with the President.
Many of those in the group have become Mrs. Arroyo’s favorite travel companions.
They were with Mrs. Arroyo in the three US and two European trips she has made since 2005.
Among them are Amelita Villarosa of Mindoro Oriental, Martin Romualdez of Leyte and Danilo Suarez of Quezon, plus the two presidential congressmen-sons, Juan Miguel of Pampanga and Diosdado of Camarines Sur.
Mindoro and Leyte are among the provinces hardest hit by the typhoon.http://www.philstar.com/index.php?Headlines&p=49&type=2&sec=24&aid=20080627127