[PHOTO -Workers and residents of Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City clear Araneta Avenue of debris and garbage as floodwaters subside following days of heavy rains. EDD GUMBAN]

MANILA, AUGUST 11, 2012 (PHILSTAR) By Aurea Calica - President Aquino appealed to the people yesterday not to lose hope despite the latest disaster that hit the country, saying the government is addressing their plight but that results would not come as quickly as “instant noodles.”

“I can’t figure out if your faces show you’re sad or still in fighting mode.

Do you still have the fighting spirit? Or are we giving up? Do not surrender. The government is here to help you, that is why it is called government, to take care of you,” Aquino said.

He said he did not want the people – especially those he visited in evacuation centers in Marikina, Quezon City, Caloocan, Valenzuela and Malabon – to expect instant results like the relocation of informal settlers or construction of catch basins and dikes.

“There are no immediate solutions. This is not ‘instant noodles’ and solution is not instant,” Aquino said.

The President was received warmly in his visits as he told them the government would not neglect them and would continue to serve them.

Aquino said he was happy that the sun was beginning to shine yesterday, just as the weather bureau had stated in its forecast.

But he said various measures undertaken by the government had mitigated flood problems and prevented another flooding on the scale of the one caused by tropical storm “Ondoy” in September 2009.

But he said he expects disaster preparedness to improve further before the end of his term in 2016.

Aquino also said the national government is partnering with local officials to ensure more effective implementation of flood-control programs.

He also cautioned the people not to let themselves get misled by false information during calamities.

“We are here to give you a little peace of mind),” Aquino said in Filipino.

In Valenzuela, the President briefly met his former girlfriend, City Councilor Shalani Soledad-Romulo.

Aquino acknowledged his ex-flame – now married to Pasig City Rep. Roman Romulo – eliciting cheers from the crowd.

He thanked the people of Valenzuela for their warm reception and strong support even if he was not able to come back to personally thank them after the 2010 elections. Soledad-Romulo campaigned for the President as his girlfriend at the time.

But the presence of the President’s supposed senatorial candidates in the 2013 elections also drew as much attention – and raised eyebrows.

With the President during his visits to affected areas were Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Joel Villanueva, former Akbayan party-list Rep. Risa Hontiveros, and Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara.

The three were also with the President on Wednesday along with another reported senatorial bet of the administration, Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon and his father, former senator and Muntinlupa Rep. Rodolfo Biazon.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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