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Aquino visits Central Luzon evacuees

Manila, Philippines – President Benigno S. Aquino III continues to visit areas severely affected by floods spawned by heavy monsoon rains as he checked on evacuees in Central Luzon yesterday.

Aquino’s first stop was the Apulid evacuation center in Paniqui, Tarlac. Tarlac is the home province of Aquino. He was congressman of the second district from 1998 to 2007.

Together with some Cabinet officials, the President personally gave the first 20 relief packs in the evacuation center, where 205 families or 798 persons temporarily took refuge from massive floods brought about by the enhanced southwest monsoon or “hanging habagat.”

Aquino said he wanted to personally check on the situation of his province mates. He assured that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is ready to assist them.

He added that he brought along Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Rogelio Singson so he could personally check on damaged infrastructures that need repair in Central Luzon.

“Ako po’y nagagalak, nakikita ko bagama’t nasalanta tayo ay buhay na buhay ho kayo, nakangiti pa. At umasa ho kayo, handa ang gobyerno niyong alalayan kayo’t tulungan kayong lahat (I am very happy to see that everyone here are lively and happy despite the disaster that happened. You can be assured that the government stands ready to assist each and everyone of you),” Aquino said.

From Paniqui, the President proceeded immediately to the Sta. Lucia High School covered court in Capas, also to distribute relief goods to the first 20 of 105 families affected there.

There was slight dealy in the President’s arrival in Paniqui as the helicopters carrying him and his Cabinet made an emergency landing in a portion of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) after encountering heavy rains enroute to Tarlac.

The President and his party were unharmed when the five helicopters, including two military escorts, landed somewhere in San Miguel, according to Secretary Ramon Carandang of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO).

Carandang said the President and his party were forced to switch vehicles to reach the flood-stricken areas in Tarlac as originally planned.

“En route to Paniqui Tarlac shortly before 9 am, the President’s aerial convoy encountered heavy rains forcing the chopper to land at the end of SCTEX,” Carandang said.

“The convoy, after a slight delay, proceeded by land as scheduled to the areas to be visited by the President. The area at the end of SCTEX which is San Miguel is not occupied by much traffic, so there was no traffic disruption. No one was injured,” he added. (Genalyn D. Kabiling and Madel R. Sabater)

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