TACLOBAN CITY- This year’s Miss Tacloban is on a mission: to meet President Benigno Aquino III.
Tacloban, the “ground zero” during the onslaught of super typhoon Yolanda on Nov. 8, 2013, is still on its daunting task of rebuilding a year and a half after the typhoon.
“I’m interested to meet Pres. Aquino because I want to bring to him personally the concerns of my fellow Yolanda survivors,” said 18-year-old Reena Vivienne “Nay-nay” Pineda, the city’s new ambassadress of goodwill.
“One of the reasons why I joined was to be the voice of our voiceless fellow Taclobanons, and through meeting Pres. Aquino, I will be fulfilling one of my purposes,” she said.
Asked if she is a fan of the President, Pineda said that it is no longer important to know.
“I don’t think it matters if I’m a fan or not. Like most Filipinos, I only want what’s best for our country,” she said.
Pineda is currently studying at Asian Development Foundation College in this city.
She hoped to become a lawyer someday.
The return of Tacloban’s prestigious beauty pageant also marked the recovery in the city after the storm, city officials said.
The local government included the event as one of its highlights for this year’s Sangyaw fiesta celebration to also boost its tourism industry.
Early last year, Aquino also met with some high school students from Tacloban who took refuge in Manila where he issued an “apology” over government’s apparent slow response during the first few days after the storm.
Almost two years after Yolanda, thousands of storm victims continue to live in bunkhouses and temporary shelters, while other complained of the slow releases of emergency shelter assistance (ESA) and the construction of permanent houses in Leyte and Samar.
The Aquino administration however said that construction of permanent resettlement sites will be finished by 2016.
It added that distribution of funds for various rehabilitation programs has continued in various affected communities.
With reports from PNA
Photo courtesy of Miss Tacloban Facebook page