Evacuees enjoy royal life at the Palace

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — SPRAWLED across the carpeted floor while watching their favorite television cartoons, children and their parents displaced by the wrath of tropical storm Ondoy continue to enjoy a homey, kingly and queenly atmosphere as relief work operates on full blast at Malacañang Palace.

Their comfortable surroundings appear rather like a dream , a far cry from the congested evacuation centers where they came from.

This developed as Press Secretary Cerge Remonde said that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will have her hands full in focusing her efforts in looking after the plight of evacuees and ensuring smooth distribution of relief goods.

Today, the President will formally receive donations from the Philippine Chamber of Commerce.

Yesterday, the President visited Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija and Guagua, Pampanga for inspections of insfrastructure projects, distribution of cash cards to poor folks and meetings with local executives,respectively.

Also yesterday 30 new volunteers trooped to the Palace who will replace those who have been helping at the national relief center since early this week. Violeta Diez, a 36-year old mother of one who came with her parents and siblings, couldn’t ask for more.

“Malaking ginhawa ang pagkakalipat namin dito. Hindi siksikan at palaging may pagkain. Carpet pa ang tinutulugan namin.,” says Violeta, one of over a hundred evacuees currently staying in Malacañang, converted in to a relief and evacuation center on orders of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to help the victims of Ondoy.

Violeta and her fellow evacuees are housed at the Ceremonial Hall, where official palace functions such as inductions and Vin d’ Honneur for visiting dignitaries are staged. The other families are staying at the Mabini Hall located on the other side of the Palace grounds.

While the atmosphere at the Ceremonial Hall at the second floor was a little bit homey, downstairs at the Kalayaan Hall, the pace is rather frenetic.