Binay: Yolanda exposed Roxas

FORMER Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II proved himself to be an irrelevant leader during and after Super Typhoon “Yolanda” because of his failure to deliver the basic needs of the people it affected, the camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay said Friday.

Yolanda killed around 7,000 people and displaced hundreds of thousands when it hit Eastern Visayas on Nov. 8, 2013. It was the strongest storm to hit land in history.

“The performance of Roxas during Super Typhoon Yolanda and the days immediately after has exposed his failure as a manager and a leader,” Binay spokesman Rico Quicho said in a statement.

“Yolanda has shown to the people the extent, or rather the limits, of Secretary Roxas’ executive capability.

“He was everywhere and nowhere at the same time. And his now classic reply to the local officials of Tacloban who were pleading for the national government’s help best illustrates his insensitivity to the suffering of our people: Bahala kayo sa buhay n’yo.”

Still, President Benigno Aquino III on Thursday pointed to Roxas’ performance during Yolanda’s onslaught as proof of his leadership ability.

But Quicho said Roxas, the Aquino administration’s candidate, should not evade questions on the failure of Malacañang to improve the lives of the poor and deliver basic services in the Yolanda-hit areas.

He said about 130,000 families were still homeless and still lived in tent cities and bunkhouses in Tacloban City and the other areas devastated by Yolanda based on a report of Social Watch Philippines

Former national treasurer Leonor Briones said Aquino had not yet approved the release of P54 billion for housing resettlement.

Twenty months after Yolanda, the government has not yet completed building resilient permanent homes for the 205,000 families that were rendered homeless, SWP and Christian Aid reported.

Quicho said Social Watch traced the source of the problem to the Department of Budget and Management, which had released ”only a third or P21 billion of the P75 billion allocated for housing resettlement.”

“A total of P170 billion was earmarked for reconstruction and rehabilitation, but again, the government has not released the whole amount,” Quicho said.

He said the government housing agencies were supposed to complete 120,000 housing units in 2015 for the Yolanda victims, but the funds were not immediately released to the National Housing Authority.

“These projects have been bid out and ready for award but could not be awarded yet pending the release of funds to the National Housing Authority,” Quicho said.

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