MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Vice President Leni Robredo’s anti-poverty program Angat Buhay donated food packs and face masks to residents of 3 towns in Batangas who had to flee their homes due to Taal Volcano’s eruption.
On Tuesday, January 14, Robredo first received a briefing from military officials and Task Force Taal at the Fernando Air Base in Lipa City, Batangas, before she travelled to Sta Teresita town to personally visit the evacuees temporarily sheltered at the Old Municipal Covered Court. (READ: Major Taal eruption still possible as volcanic quakes persist, cracks emerge)
The Vice President then proceeded to the San Jose Bulwagan evacuation center in San Jose town, then to the PUP Sto Tomas evacuation center in the municipality of Sto Tomas.
A total of 2,101 food packs were given to evacuees in the 3 Batangas towns. Each food pack contained 1.5 kilos of rice, assorted canned goods, and two packs of noodles. Robredo and the Angat Buhay partners also distributed 1,000 face masks, which will help protect evacuees from Taal Volcano’s ashfall.
She was joined by Batangas Vice Governor Mark Leviste as she distributed the goods in the evacuation centers.
The Vice President said she plans to return to Batangas later this week to give additional assistance to the evacuees, including blankets, medicines, hygiene kits as well as portalets for the evacuation centers.
Still, Robredo lauded the response efforts so far by the local government units in Sta. Teresita and San Jose.
"Talagang hindi matatawaran iyong kanilang pag-asikaso sa mga evacuees. Kaya ito talaga, makikita mo iyong bayanihan. Nakakataba ng puso tingnan na kahit hindi nila constituents, iyong pagtulong talaga buhos na buhos," the Vice President said.
(The attention they give to the evacuees is unparalleled. You can really see that the community is working together here. It warms my heart that even those evacuees who are not their constituents, they still shower with help.)
In her Facebook account on Monday night, January 13, the Vice President called on Metro Manila residents to help her office repack the relief goods.
“Thank you to our volunteers who heeded our call for help at such short notice. I posted our call for help at 9.43 last night. In less than an hour, our office was swamped with volunteers all wanting to do their share in helping the victims of the Taal Volcano eruption,” Robredo said on Tuesday.
“May you all be blessed a thousandfold,” the Vice President added.
Taal Volcano remains under Alert Level 4, which means a "hazardous" eruption is "imminent" or may occur "within days to hours.”
The ashfall from Taal reached parts of Calabarzon, Metro Manila, and Central Luzon on Sunday. – Rappler.com
Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at email@example.com or tweet @maracepeda.