Malacanang on Wednesday defended Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman on the allegation that she was campaigning for the Liberal Party candidates instead of leading from the frontlines for the relief and recovery of those affected by typhoon ‘Lando.”
Soliman chided the accusation of Vice President Jejomar Binay’s spokesperson that she was remiss in her responsibilities by attending a DSWD-organized event “meant for campaigning” instead of attending first to the families affected by the typhoon.
The Secretary explained that she flew to Koronadal City in South Cotabato to participate the event focusing on the celebration of the struggles and successes of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries in their journey towards rising above poverty.
Soliman said that such one day event of attendance to the event organized several months ago could not wholly mirror the entire preparation that the department had done prior to the typhoon’s landfall and its effects on affected communities in the provinces along its path.
“On the same day, I flew back to Manila after the event and went straight to the National Resource Operations Center to attend the NDRRMC meeting. On Oct. 19, together with the President, we distributed relief goods and visited affected communities in Region III,” Soliman added.
In the same venue, LP Presidential candidate and former Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas and Vice-Presidential candidate and Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo were also present. Roxas talked about sustainable livelihood while Robredo discussed food security.
She expressed sadness that it seems that the current calamity is being used as an instrument to promote certain sector’s vested interest by hitting the administration with negative feedback.
The DSWD chief said that on Oct. 16, as the vice chairperson for Disaster Response of the NDRRMC, she was in the briefing of the council provided for the President and continued to work with colleagues in planning and implementing the disaster response plan.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the Commission on Elections said it was not premature campaigning for candidates for next year’s polls to distribute relief to victims of Typhoon Lando. Chairman Andres Bautista emphasized there is no existing provision from the Omnibus Election Law that prohibits candidates from donating or distributing relief goods to people affected by natural disasters.