MANILA, Nov. 14, 2014 — For an official of the Church hierarchy, President Benigno S. Aquino III (PNoy)’s snubbing of the commemoration activities held on the first anniversary of typhoon Yolanda in Tacloban City, Leyte—one of the hardest-hit areas—smacked of nothing but childishness unbecoming of the leader of the land.
“That is a childish mentality. He should have gone to Tacloban if only to show the survivors they have a fatherly figure in him who cares about his children,” shared Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Emeritus Oscar V. Cruz in an interview over Church-run Radyo Veritas.
For the outspoken prelate, however, PNoy’s juvenile antics are nothing new.
The former head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) related an incident that took place in Guiuan, Eastern Samar on Friday, Nov. 7, a day before the anniversary rites in Tacloban.
There the president awarded certificates of occupancy to 132 survivor-families, who had received transitional shelters at the town’s Cogon Resettlement Site.
According to Cruz, PNoy acted as though what he was giving away was something from himself, expecting the people to clap and be thankful to him.
Cruz stressed any project or program to be given by the government should not be considered gifts which an “indebted” Filipino public has to express gratitude for.
He pointed out public projects are funded by the people’s money.
PNoy told reporters he decided to spend the eve of the Yolanda anniversary in Guiuan, which he described as worse-hit than Tacloban, to see how it rose from the havoc wrought by the super typhoon in Nov. 8, 2013.
“At the end of the day, this is not politics. This is, and I really want it to be highlighted, there are some structures standing in Tacloban when I visited. When I visited Guiuan, if I remember correctly, parang not a single roof was left intact,” GMA News quoted the president as answering when asked why he chose to visit Guiuan and bypass Tacloban.
The mayor of Guiuan, Christopher Sheen Gonzales, is an Aquino ally, while Tacloban’s Alfred Romualdez is a nephew of former First Lady Imelda R. Marcos. (Raymond A. Sebastián)