Interior Secretary Mar Roxas said aid to victims of Supertyphoon Yolanda is a concern of another department and evaded answering a question from reporters about problems in the implementation of government assistance to survivors.
“What is my agency?” Roxas told newsmen in Iloilo on September 4, during an ambush interview as he was exiting from a conference of municipal mayors at the Kalantiao Hall of Sarabia Manor Hotel.
Roxas was responding to a reporter’s question about the woes besetting the Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) for survivors displaced by the typhoon that devastated the Visayas last year.
Roxas, as Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Governments (DILG), is the point man of the Aquino administration in the ESA, whose slow implementation has been severely assailed by survivors and foreign donor agencies.
Without directly saying it, Roxas said the question should instead be directed to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) headed by Dinky Soliman and not the DILG.
“Well, whose agency is suppose to…” he said.
The standard bearer of the administration Liberal Party (LP) of President Benigno Aquino, Roxas was in Iloilo City in a campaign sortie to lure support of local officials.
Minutes before the interview that shocked the reporters, Roxas keynoted the Visayas cluster conference of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) attended by about 250 mayors.
Roxas refused to answer more questions and in a huff turned his back from the shocked reporters.
Roxas’ local handlers would later say that the Interior Secretary was in a hurry to proceed to Bacolod City, Negros Occidental.
Panay Island, composed of the provinces of Antique, Aklan, Iloilo and Capiz, the home province of Roxas, was partly hit by Yolandam the strongest typhoon to hit the country.