MANILA, Oct. 4, 2011— A Catholic bishop called on President Benigno Aquino to visit flooded areas due to a recent typhoon particularly in Pampanga, the bailiwick of former President and now Rep. Gloria Arroyo.
San Fernando Auxiliary Bishop Roberto Mallari urged Aquino to set aside politics, saying that his presence in Pampanga could boost the morale of the typhoon victims.
“I think the President’s presence is important it will boost hope among the affected residents,” Mallari told Church-run Radyo Veritas Tuesday.
“Being the father of the country, your presence counts a lot,” he said.
The bishop’s appeal was echoed by an official of the Church’s social action arm, who said that the chief executive’s presence will show the government seriousness in helping the victims.
According to Fr Edu Gariguez of the National Secretariat for Social Action – Justice and Peace (Nassa), visiting personally the victims somehow denote good leadership.
“It’s really important that he’ll be seen in the affected areas for the people to feel that he really cares for them,” Gariguez said.
Bishop Mallari said he cannot help but compare Aquino to Arroyo, his predecessor, who would not need to be asked in making her presence felt during times of need.
“Our former president, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, even though hounded with many accusations, was always present in times of crisis,” he recalled.
Over the past few days, Aquino had been criticized for not being present in areas damaged by typhoons “Pedring” and “Quiel”.
Malacañang officials, however, immediately defended the President, adding that he is not fond of “photo opportunities”.
Gariguez said that based on their own assessment, Pampanga is just as equally damaged as Bulacan but is not being the focus of public and media attention.
He said among those where they found most in need of relief are the Pampanga towns of Macabebe, Apalit, San Luis, Candaba, Masantol, and San Simon. [CBCPNews]