VP Binay: Stop finger-pointing on Yolanda tragedy

Thea Alberto-Masakayan
Yahoo Southeast Asia Newsroom
10 November 2013
Survivors walk under a fallen electric post after super Typhoon Haiyan battered Tacloban city
Survivors walk under a fallen electric post after super Typhoon Haiyan battered Tacloban city, central Philippines November 10, 2013. One of the most powerful storms ever recorded killed at least 10,000 people in the central Philippines, a senior police official said on Sunday, with huge waves sweeping away entire coastal villages and devastating the region's main city. Super typhoon Haiyan destroyed about 70 to 80 percent of the area in its path as it tore through Leyte province on Friday, said police chief superintendent Elmer Soria. As rescue workers struggled to reach ravaged villages along the coast, where the death toll is as yet unknown, survivors foraged for food as supplies dwindled or searched for lost loved ones. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco (PHILIPPINES - Tags: DISASTER TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY ENVIRONMENT)

This is not the right time to blame each other, says Vice President Jejomar Binay as the country reels from the devastation brought by monster typhoon "Yolanda."

“There will be time to determine what went wrong, but at this moment our urgent task is to extend much needed help to the survivors and restore vital public services,” Binay said in a statement Sunday.

His statement comes after President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III's controversial statement that Tacloban, which was most hit by Yolanda, appeared to be not as prepared as other areas. Tacloban is the capital of Leyte whose leaders include Alfred Romualdez, nephew of former first lady Imelda Marcos. The Marcos family is Aquino family's nemesis.

It could be recalled that on the eve of the onslaught of typhoon Yolanda, Aquino appealed to the public via national television to evacuate and prepare for the disaster. Reports say however that even evacuation centers were not spared from Yolanda's wrath.

Binay, who flew to typhoon-hit area Mindoro, described Yolanda damage as a "national tragedy" and that there must be a concerted effort to help Filipinos affected. Aquino meanwhile flew to Tacloban to assess the situation Sunday.
“The damage inflicted by Typhoon Yolanda is a national tragedy that cries for a national concerted response,” Binay said.

Binay, who heads Pag-IBIG fund, said the agency already deployed help desks so members who lost their homes can easily avail of housing assistance.
 
"Pag-ibig members may avail of a calamity loan at 5.95 percent annually, payable in two years and a three-month moratorium for those who have existing loans. The Fund also offers assistance to members in insurance claim against allied perils such as typhoon or flood," he said.

Binay said the National Housing Authority will also help families rebuild their homes with a partial P10,000-worth of building materials.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council have said over 100 are confirmed dead and dozens remain missing in areas hit by Yolanda. Other reports on the ground however claim that some 10,000 people are feared dead in the "tsunami-like" disaster.