President Benigno Aquino III directed Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo yesterday morning to be on top of the situation in the ongoing relief operations for earthquake-stricken areas in the first district.

The President called up Degamo past 10 a.m. yesterday to ask for updates, after receiving reports that relief operations are a bit slow, and that there are unconfirmed reports relief operations are being politicized, while he has not heard of concrete actions undertaken by local officials.

Degamo said that, on orders of the President, he issued a memorandum yesterday to local government units concerned to expedite the distribution of relief goods and for local officials to set aside political color to address the concerns of all those affected. He also called for cooperation and unity in situations like these so as not to unduly prejudice the needs of the victims.

Earlier, reports said that Guihulngan Mayor Ernesto Reyes was distributing relief goods in his residence, and that, relief goods sent by the provincial government to the city auditorium were refused by the mayor.

This prompted Degamo to transfer the venue to the Negros Oriental State University campus in Guihulngan City.

Degamo also said relief goods will be directly distributed to affected residents in coordination with the social welfare offices and other officials

He said help is slowly penetrating areas directly hit by the earthquake through DSWD personnel and volunteers.*JG