TACLOBAN City -- Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. and Ferdinand "Martin" Romualdez declared yesterday that Yolanda survivors here and some other hit-areas are still on "emergency situation" and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) should not stop the distribution of relief operations.
In a joint press conference, Marcos and Romualdez said the DSWD should not discontinue the delivery of relief goods for the victims because many of them remain jobless.
"Whatever it takes, get it done (because) it is still an emergency situation," Marcos told reporters in a media briefing held at city hall here after visiting Samar and Leyte provinces since Thursday until today where he spearheaded medical mission and relief operations.
"Nobody wants to be receiving charity forever, but since the livelihood has not begun to function on the ground, that (relief operation) has to be extended," Marcos added as he hit the bureaucratic problem in the speedy distribution of assistance to Yolanda victims.
Since the DSWD is behind government's regular dole-out program, Romualdez said it should concentrate the distribution of huge resources to Yolanda victims especially here where few thousand families have remain in so-called tent cities.
"Kung noong walang Yolanda ay kailangan na (ng relief goods), ngayon pa kayang grabeng nasalanta. The DSWD should continue to distribute relief goods, after all, they have all the resources," Romualdez said.
"May problema talaga sa distribution kaya nga may nabubulok na relief goods na dapat pinakikinabangan," Romualdez pointed out. "Pakiramdam namin parang binabara ang mga tulong na paparating dito (Tacloban City)."
Marcos and Romualdez lauded the efforts of presidential assistant for rehabilitation and recovery (PARR) Sec. Panfilo "Ping" Lacson, although he sound a little bit frustrated in the snail-paced rehabilitation efforts.
"He sounds a little bit frustrated because his role is limited to coordination. But he is trying his best to do his job," Marcos said.
For his part, Romualdez said "we reiterate our support to him (Lacson) because his success would be our success too."
The two lawmakers attended an earlier press briefing with Lacson at Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport where Air Asia donated $1 million to Habitat for Yolanda victims.
Marcos also aired his disappointment about the government's continued absence of a master plan to rebuild the Yolanda-stricken communities.
"It was disappointing to hear that there is still no overall rehabilitation plan," he said.
He reminded the government to fulfil its promise to give the national government a bigger role in the rebuilding efforts and immediately download funds especially that he and Romualdez helped pushed for the appropriation of P120 billion in this year's national budget for Yolanda rebuilding efforts.
"We are thankful to all the help from the national government and international community. But the national government should make good of its promise to download substantial funds for the victims and they must do it expeditiously. The local government units should be tapped also because they have the manpower to provide the immediate help," Marcos said after Budget Sec. Florencio "Butch" Abad claimed that at least P32.2 billion Yolanda funds have been released since May 15.
"Sana maramdaman na ang pondong iyan," a frustrated Marcos said.
Romualdez agreed with Marcos, saying DSWD Sec. Dinky Soliman and Interior and Local Government Sec. Manuel "Mar" Roxas do not need to come in Yolanda-hit areas every time they would extend help to LGUs.
"They can delegate that to their subordinates," Romualdez said.
Nevertheless, Romualdez expressed gratitude to President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, Soliman, Roxas, international donors and media for helping the victims.
"We are not here to criticize, we are very thankful to all the help. But I think we have to improve the system and expeditiously deliver the needs of the survivors," said Romualdez.