Filipino-American influencer Bretman Rock took to social media on Saturday, November 14, to raise awareness on the situation of his hometown in Cagayan in the aftermath of Typhoon Ulysses, and to call out the government’s response to the disaster.
Many towns in Cagayan have been submerged in floods due to nonstop rains brought about by the typhoon and the tail-end of a cold-front, prompting the release of water from Magat Dam. The floods have affected at least 174,940 inviduals in 26 municipalities in the province as of 9 am on November 14.
Bretman took to Twitter to offer prayers for the province, saying: “We were struck with 4 typhoons and childhood home is literally submerged underwater…. I know there are so many things happening in the world right now but I just thought I would bring some awareness to this #prayforcagayan.”
He also went on Instagram stories on November 14 to talk about the situation in the province.
“I grew up there and so the past couple of days, they have been struck by many typhoons and I know there’s more on the way and my town is literally submerged underwater… I’ve been seeing a lot of videos on Twitter literally crying and begging for help and it’s just so crazy to me because those are literally my people, people I grew up around, and people from my town,” he said.
“Before I went on set today I was crying and crying because I just couldn’t fathom how crazy it must be at home,” he shared.
He told his followers that he wasn’t asking for donations, but just wants to raise awareness.
He added: “I don’t think that I should be praised for something that I should be doing. I mean, I grew up there and I really would not be the person that I am today without being from there.”
Bretman then called out the government’s response to the disaster, saying, “What’s really interesting about that is that the government in the Philippines is not doing anything about it.”
“I don’t wanna get in trouble but the government is really just acting like nothing is going on and it’s just so crazy to me, honestly. That’s all I’m gonna say ‘cos I don’t wanna get in trouble,” he said.
The provincial government has been conducting rescue operations for the last few days, but the situation on the ground and the lack of equipment and manpower has made it difficult for them to operate on Friday night, November 13, when people fled to their roofs to escape the rising floodwaters.
Amid criticism on government response to the situation in Cagayan, Malacañang enumerated the rescue operations carried out by the Philippine Coast Guard, the Philippine National Police, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Cagayan and Isabela.
Bretman, a top beauty influencer with over 7 million subscribers on YouTube, was born in Sanchez Mira, Cagayan. He migrated to Hawaii when he was 7 years old. – Rappler.com