Palace chides Robredo for calling Nina rehab ‘slow’

Pia Ranada
Palace chides Robredo for calling Nina rehab ‘slow’
The Palace says the Vice President's criticisms suggest a 'cynical political mindset willing to capitalize on disaster'

MANILA, Philippines – The Palace hit Vice President Leni Robredo for calling Typhoon Nina (Nock-ten) rehabilitation in some areas “slow,” saying she should show more appreciation for the work of government.

“The remark of Ms Robredo made, saying that the relief operations were ‘slow,’ suggests a cynical political mindset willing to capitalize on disaster,” said Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella in a statement on Wednesday, January 4.

“One wished she displayed more appreciation of the work of our disaster officials, our social workers, and other volunteers who were on Ground Zero even before Nina made landfall,” added President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman.

On Tuesday, while she was visiting typhoon-hit areas in Camarines Sur, Robredo described the relief operations in some areas as slow.

“Sa tingin ko medyo mabagal, mabagal iyong galaw. Halimbawa dito, isang barangay pa lang napupuntahan ko dito, pero iyong reklamo ni Kap, na iyong galing pa lang sa amin na tulong ang dumating,” she had said.

(I think the recovery is slow. For example, in this barangay, the captain’s complaint is that only aid from us has reached them.)

Abella sought to address this concern by releasing the latest tally of relief assistance given.

Around P182.5 million worth of relief assistance was provided to affected families in Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol, and Eastern Visayas, he said.

This assistance came from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (P167 million), local governments (P4.2 million), and non-governmental organizations (P11.3 million).

Openly critical

Robredo, on Tuesday, also claimed that power restoration in some areas did not even reach 50% even after more than a week.

“Tingin ko kailangan tulungan kung paano mapapabilis kasi medyo unusual ito na 8 days after, hindi pa nga 50% iyong nababalik na kuryente,” she said.

(I think we have to help them speed up the recovery because it is unusual that 8 days after, electricity has not been restored in 50% of the area.)

In response to this, Abella said full restoration of National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) transmission services in all Nina-affected areas “is expected today” or January 4.

“The NGCP, after deploying 500 technical personnel, reported that as of December 31, the Naga-Daraga 230 kV line and the Naga-Pili-Iriga line have been restored servicing the provinces of Albay, Sorsogon, and Camarines Sur,” said Abella.

Robredo was earlier criticized for being abroad while Typhoon Nina battered her home region of Bicol during the Christmas holiday.

Though Robredo continues to profess support for the Duterte administration, she is the highest-ranking national official openly critical of it.

Her opposition to the burial of late strongman Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani and concern over the “war on drugs” were among the “irreconcilable differences” between her and Duterte that led him to exclude her from Cabinet meetings.

Because of this, Robredo decided to resign from the Cabinet. –

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at