Yolanda victims welcome Poe, Escudero in Roxas’ hometown

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Typhoon Yolanda victims in the hometown of Liberal Party standard bearer Manuel ‘Mar’ Roxas II welcomed presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe and her running mate Sen. Francis ‘Chiz’ Escudero.

Roxas City (CNN Philippines) — Unmindful of the huge billboard of Liberal party (LP) standard bearer Manuel ‘Mar’ Roxas II behind them, the crowd in Roxas City on Wednesday (February 17) gathered to show support for another presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe and her running mate Sen. Francis ‘Chiz’ Escudero.

Quite a number of them are victims of Typhoon Yolanda in 2014—and they are unhappy with the government's response and assistance.

Yolanda survivor Edna Egil told CNN Philippines, she has not yet received the assistance the government promised.

“Hanggang ngayon, hindi pa nakatayo bahay namin, sira pa rin e, matagal na namin hinintay.”

[Translation: Until now my house is not yet fixed, we’ve been waiting for it (to get fixed) for so long.]

Lourdesita Magallanes expressed the same sentiments.

“Ang gusto namin, mabigyan kami ng para sa amin na calamity na ESA (Emergency Shelter Assistance), dahil hindi pa kami nakatanggap.”

[Translation: We want to receive the calamity assistance ESA, because we have not received any.]

A delighted Poe, seeing the crowd in the hometown of one of her political rivals, rushed to greet them.

Also read: Poe to take oath at Jaro Cathedral if elected president

Campaign activities restricted?

Being in Roxas City puts Poe's campaign to test. There were initial concerns whether she could draw an audience or not.

Insiders at the Poe-Escudero camp admit they are having a tough time organizing events for their candidates.

They say its not that Roxas City is being less accommodating. It’s just that their hosts are being cautious.

It has been a strategy of Poe's team to visit schools and engage young voters. But that did not happen in Roxas City.

“Dapat meron, pero wag na natin pahabain, tanungin nyo na lang anong nangyari,” Poe said.

[Translation: There should be, but just ask what happened.]

Its not the first time Poe's actions are restricted.

In Cebu last year, journalists were barred from covering her speaking engagement in a school.

“Ang ‘daang matuwid’, hindi dapat pinapayagan ang ganyang mga bagay,” Poe said.

“Ang bawat estudyante at ang bawat mamayanan, ng bawat lungsod at probinsya, ay may karapatan, na pakinggan ang mga kandidato, para meron silang kaalaman sa kung ano ba ang tamang plataporma. Sana nabigyan kami ng pagkakataon na kausapin ang mga estudyante,” she added.

[Translation: The ‘straight path’ should not allow such things to happen. Every student and every citizen of each city or province has the right to hear the platforms of the candidates. I hope they granted us the opportunity to speak with the students.]

Speaking to reporters in Quezon City in Metro Manila, Roxas denied insinuations of sabotage.

Escudero, Poe’s running mate, cannot help but take a dig on Roxas.

Escudero said despite serving three different presidents, the former lawmaker and cabinet member did not bring that much development to his hometown.

“Malayo pa sana ang mararating sa pagkakataong binigay sa kanya, para maayos, mapaganda, at makita natin, higit pa sa nakikita natin sa ibang lalawigan.”

[Translation: He could have done more with the opportunity given to him, to improve it better than the other provinces.]

An unsolicited comment that Roxas was not about to let go.

“What can you expect from somebody like Chiz na parang saling pusa? Nais na naman makihalo sa usaping pang national. Siguro tanungin din natin mga kababayan nya sa Sorsogon kung anong nangyari doon,” Roxas said.

[Translation: What can you expect from somebody like Chiz? He always wants to join the discussion on national issues. Let’s might as well ask his townsfolk in Sorsogon what happened there.]

Poe said they are likely to return to Roxas City, with hopes that they could freely reach out to their potential voters next time.