disaster relief

Presidential aspirants launch relief operations after Typhoon Odette onslaught

Jairo Bolledo
Presidential aspirants launch relief operations after Typhoon Odette onslaught

AFTERMATH. Cebu City residents clean up debris in the aftermath of Typhoon Odette after its onslaught midnight of December 17, 2021.

Jacqueline Hernandez/Rappler

The presidential aspirants mostly provide aid through relief goods, while some decide to visit the affected areas

MANILA, Philippines – After Typhoon Odette (Rai) hammered Visayas and Mindanao, the various presidential aspirants and their running mates launched their respective relief operations to assist Filipinos affected by the weather disturbance. 

In a statement on Friday, December 17, Laban ng Masa (LNM) announced that presidential aspirant Leody de Guzman and running mate, Walden Bello, would redirect their efforts towards helping victims of the typhoon’s onslaught. 

“Laban ng Masa’s campaign for presidential and vice presidential tandem Ka Leody de Guzman and Walden Bello is redirecting efforts towards the ongoing onslaught of Typhoon Odette in large parts of the country,” the LNM said. 

The party added that they were preparing for their own relief drive: “We continue to monitor the situation on-ground, especially of our volunteers, as well as prepare our own relief drive efforts for those affected by the typhoon.” 

Another presidential aspirant, Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson said he already responded “privately.” 

“If it was done through private communication, I would have responded privately as well and offered whatever resources we can share at our disposal in a coordinated effort,” Lacson said in a release on Friday.

The senator also reiterated that his office in the Senate has been consistent in assisting in past calamities even with no media coverage.  

“As in the past calamities, my Senate office as well as friends and supporters assisted without fanfare and without any media coverage. We did it in the Cagayan Valley, Bicol region, and some other areas hit by strong typhoons,” Lacson added.

Meanwhile, the dictator’s son and presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and running mate Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, announced that they mobilized their volunteer network to distribute relief goods. The UniTeam, which the tandem refers to themselves, said that each pack contained five kilograms of rice, assorted canned goods, milk, and instant coffee. 

The tandem added that they already reached local government officials.  

Nakamonitor ang aming opisina sa bagyong Odette at tinitignan natin kung ano pa ang mga kakailanganing tulong ng mga nasalanta. Sa kasalukuyan ay nakikipag-ugnayan na rin tayo sa mga lokal na pamahalaan para agad na maihatid ang mga tulong na ito,” the tandem said. 

([Our volunteers] are monitoring Typhoon Odette from our office and we are assessing other things that the affected would need. At present, we are coordinating with the local governments to deliver our aid.)

On Monday, Manila Mayor and presidential aspirant Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso said that he called for a special session of the Manila City Council to pass a resolution, which seeks to allot a sum of money for relief operations in affected areas in the Visayas and Mindanao. 

“I have already asked the presiding officer of the City Council, Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna, to immediately hold a special session and a resolution be passed allocating a certain sum of money for the typhoon victims in the Visayas and Mindanao,” Moreno said . 

According to Moreno, his campaign chief Lito Banayo has already reached out to Cebu officials and relayed Moreno’s plan to personally visit the province. 

“I was told by Cong. PJ Garcia that they do not yet have a clear assessment of the damage from Odette since power and communication lines were down at the height of the typhoon. Hopefully, power will be restored and the Cebu airport becomes operational again by next week,” Banayo said.

Presidential aspirant Senator Manny Pacquiao, meanwhile, called on other aspirants to “set aside politics” and coordinate with each other to help the Typhoon victims. 

Magsama-sama tayo upang tulungan ang ating mga kababayan na nasalanta ng bagyo (Let’s unite to help our fellow countrymen affected by the typhoon). Now is the time to come together as one,” Pacquiao said. 

Pacquiao’s team also calls for donations.

Presidential aspirant Vice President Leni Robredo announced that her campaign volunteer headquarters in Katipunan, Quezon City, was temporarily converted into a hub to receive relief goods. Robredo’s team said the most urgent goods are blankets, hygiene items, face masks, alcohol, rice, and ready-to-eat food. 

The Office of the Vice President (OVP) also receives cash donations through Tanging Yaman Foundation, Inc. Aside from coordinating with the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Robredo will also visit Bohol province. 

“Vice President Leni Robredo is visiting the Province of Bohol this afternoon, 17 December 2021, to assess how the Office of the Vice President can further assist the areas affected by Typhoon Odette, as part of OVP’s relief operations,” the OVP said. 

After visiting Bohol, the vice president is also set to visit Leyte, Surigao, Cebu, and Negros.

Typhoon Odette wreaked havoc in some provinces in the Visayas and Mindanao, leaving four persons dead in the province of Negros Occidental. – Rappler.com

Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering the police, crime, military, and security.