The Philippine Red Cross, in partnership with Qatar Red Crescent Society, distributed jerry cans, mattress and blankets to more than 1,400 families in La Paz and Dagami, Leyte. Leading the distribution of relief items were PRC Chairman Richard Gordon and Secretary General Gwendolyn Pang. (VICKY ARNAIZ)

TACLOBAN CITY – Even senior citizens of this Yolanda- battered city are complaining over what they alleged lack of assistance to them by the government. During a prayer conference held at the temporary site of the Santo Nino Church at the Rizal Park last October 6, the members of the Tacloban Federation of Senior Citizen Association (Tafesca) aired their complaints addressed to the government.

Adrian Banzon, Tafesca’s information officer, said that they conducted the prayer conference and even invited representatives from different government agencies so they would be cleared on their grievances, particularly on lack of assistance after the devastation of supertyphoon Yolanda which struck Tacloban last November 8, 2013. But none of the government offices that they have invited honored their invitation, Banzon said during an interview at their event attended by close to 100 senior citizens of Tacloban. “It seems that they are not paying attention to the senior citizens. Our intention of inviting them was for us to be clarified on information that we have been hearing over the radio. We heard a lot (of supposed assistance) and yet we have not received any thing,” Banzon said.

Had their invited guests showed up, particularly from the Department of Social Welfare and Development, any possible their queries could have been answered, the Tafesca official said. The senior citizens, Banzon claimed, were neglected by the government during the calamity that was Yolanda. “Senior citizens haven’t received anything. They will just say that they already gave it to the barangay. But no, senior citizens do not eat canned goods because it may cause illness; different diseases,” Banzon said, adding that what they want are foods that are nutritious and appropriate to them. The government, through the DSWD, gave kilograms of rice, noodles and canned of sardines which ended early this year. Tacloban has around 6,000 senior citizens or those whose ages ranged from 65 and above. (KLYTE FAYE C.VELOSO, LNU Intern)