MANILA – Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez said on Saturday that the absence of President Benigno Aquino III during the city’s tribute of the anniversary of Typhoon Yolanda is not an issue.
Romualdez told reporters that the people who lost their lives because of the incident are the ones who should be remembered.
”I think we’ve all gone beyond that and I think people want closure… that should be the focus,” the mayor said. ”It never crossed my mind. I really focus on the people. I wanted this day to be for the people, for them to remember their loved ones,” he said referring to the President’s absence.
According to Romualdez, the fact that Aquino did not include Tacloban in his itinerary might actually do good for the people of the province as they remember their deceased loved ones.
”Looking on the brighter side, you know there are a lot of things that are happening here in Leyte, in Tacloban, and anywhere. If he [Aquino] was here, there will be no flyzone and tighter security everywhere. Given that, a lot of people might have a hard time going to the cemetery because of the traffic,” said Romualdez.
Romualdez revealed that in Tacloban City, the worst hit and most affected area by the Yolanda last year, at least 2,600 death certificates have been handed out.
There are also at least 2,274 bodies buried in a mass grave, while 600 remain missing.