Assistance to Iloilo folks hailed

January 24, 2010 1:38 pm 

MANILA, Jan. 24 — Former Social Welfare and Development Secretary and now Department of Health (DOH) Chief Esperanza Cabral has lauded Lakas-Kampi-CMD (Christian, Muslim, Democrats) standard-bearer Gilberto “Gibo” Teodoro Jr. as the "silent action man" for carrying out his tasks sans the media fanfare.

Cabral was in Iloilo City recently for the distribution of new homes built by the government for families displaced by powerful typhoon Frank in June 2008.

During the turnover ceremony, Cabral said that the former Defense secretary and head of the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) facilitated the immediate release of P35 million fund used for the construction of some 500 houses for the displaced families in San Isidro, Jaro, Iloilo.

"Teodoro deserves his title as the 'silent action man' during his stint as head of the National Disaster Coordinating Council," she said.

The newly appointed DOH chief hailed Teodoro’s "prompt response at the time."

Cabral said the former DND chief characteristically refused to divulge his part in the provision of new homes for the Iloilo folks but that she is making his contributions public only now.

“He (Teodoro) is very humble and unassuming, and yet he will go out of his way to help us at the DSWD achieve our goals of relieving the distress of our countrymen," she said.

She also acknowledged that Teodoro "had done more for the DSWD but that it was not his nature to drumbeat those accomplishments."

Cabral’s statement belied criticisms from some sectors about Teodoro’s alleged slow response at the height of the devastation of typhoon Ondoy in September last year.

Teodoro typically took the criticisms calmly, saying that the doubts arose from his decision to do his job without the media on his trail.

The Lakas-Kampi-CMD presidential bet for the May 2010 elections said he would have rubbed salt to the wound had he called in the media to report every action and decision he had taken in response to the overwhelming devastation as the typhoon cut through much of Luzon.

“To follow one self-described expert's advice that Gibo should have donned a life vest and dove into muddy waters to personally rescue stranded people at the height of storm in full media coverage smacks of political gimmickry that does not represent the kind of governance a Teodoro presidency would bring to the country,” said Sarangani Governor Miguel Dominguez, Lakas-Kampi-CMD national president, in reaction to the criticisms.

“It is unimaginable for Gibo to even consider taking advantage of a life-threatening position to mislead people and create the impression of assistance. Such an act represents the kind of shameless self-promotion that has plagued Philippine politics and which in the long run does more harm than good,” he said.

“Gibo, in his conscience, could not take advantage of the Ondoy disaster for personal political gain. It would be a height of callousness for anyone to do it,” he added. (PNA) scs/LGI/PFN

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