It is pitiful enough to see Tacloban City still struggling to rise from the ruins brought about by the destructive super typhoon Yolanda one year after that fateful day, but it is even more woeful noting that the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the place is at snail pace because of Mayor Alfred Romualdez’s inadequacies in leadership style.
There is no better person to criticize and make this judgment than Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery (PARR) Panfilo Lacson himself who described Romualdez’s rehabilitation efforts of the city as “below par performance”.
Lacson has been focused on his job and has been travelling all over the affected areas that I don’t think the statement he made against Romualdez is politically motivated.
Suffice to say that Lacson has also met with the other mayors whose areas have also been devastated and need government assistance, but, unlike Romualdez, has shown leadership and determination in going ahead with what they can, given the limited resources available in the area, without really complaining so much. Lacson termed it as ‘bellyaching’.
Romualdez, on the other hand, and even immediately after the onslaught of Yolanda, has been complaining already about the national government’s slow response of sending help to Tacloban. And to think that it was his responsibility as head of the local government unit of Tacloban to lead in planning, organizing and controlling the relief efforts needed badly at the time.
To this day, Romualdez is heard bitching that Tacloban City did not receive a single centavo from the national government for the rehabilitation efforts. Obviously, per reports, this was also echoed by the mayor’s cousin Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos who also claimed that the city had not received assistance from the national government.
I do not know what Romualdez is trying to prove here but if this is not a glaring display of political machination, I do not know what is. Let us all remember, like I said, that the Romualdezes, a close relatives of Imelda Romualdez Marcos, has been blaming President Benigno Aquino all along for the slow recovery progress of Tacloban.
But then again, while Romualdez only bellyaches, Lacson has facts and figures to prove his allegations against the former.
Lacson said Tacloban City obtained P6.1 billion in projects, programs and activities with Romualdez receiving P230.4 million from the Department of Interior and Local Government for the repairs of the city hall, public markets and civic centers.
“Let the numbers speak for themselves,” Lacson said in a televised press briefing. “Numbers don’t lie. It’s all there.”
Lacson also recalled that Romualdez wanted to realign the funds that he requested and had been downloaded to Tacloban City for repairs of government centers.
This prompted Lacson to describe the realignment that Romualdez wanted as ‘one example of hijacking the rehabilitation efforts.”
Lacson, a former senator appointed by President Aquino to lead the multiagency rehabilitation program in typhoon-stricken communities wants to assure the public that the situation in Tacloban does not reflect the government’s rebuilding and rehabilitation efforts.
I believe this because significant progress in other places that are Yolanda-related always sees print in the newspapers and are reported over the radio and on national TV.
I have relatives in Tacloban and I pity them and the other Warays for being victims of political conspiracy and leadership inadequacy.
The citizens of Tacloban, however, should feel encouraged by what Lacson has promised when he said: “We will continue to extend our hand of cooperation to the mayor of Tacloban. We will not give up on Tacloban. Nobody will be left out in these rehabilitation efforts. But the local executives must do their share.”
And as he reminded the other political leaders, the likes of Romualdez, Lacson added: “When you need assistance for your constituents, you forget about your personal or political agenda.”